Cloudland welcomes new head baseball coach Nathaniel Patterson looks to bring a change of culture

Published 8:36 am Thursday, March 26, 2020



It was a shock for Cloudland High School’s baseball team when they discovered their head coach had been reassigned to Hampton High School. Coach Cory Rhodes had been at the helm of Cloudland’s team for the last three years and had seen some success with the squad.

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The vacancy he left would be hard to fill for the Carter County School System, but Nathaniel Patterson was up for the challenge.

This year Coach Nathaniel Patterson stepped into the position he had waited for all of his life, as a high school head coach.

“I have always wanted to coach on the high school level, and I am finally getting the opportunity to do so,” said Coach Patterson. “I can’t coach like Cory Rhodes, but I feel we can change the culture of the team, and after a while, we will develop a winning program.”

Coach Patterson has played baseball all of his life and comes to Roan Mountain from Johnson City. He graduated from Science Hill High School and received a baseball scholarship to Milligan College. Eventually, he got his degree at East Tennessee State University.

The difference between Johnson City and Roan Mountain took a little adjusting, but Coach Patterson sees the potential in the team.

“We have a lot of good athletes, but most of the school’s athletes play basketball or football,” Patterson said. “You have to have good athletes to win, and I have to convince some of these other athletes to also play baseball.

“Once they start winning a few games, we will get a little confidence, and we will believe we can play with anyone.”

Coach Patterson is coaching by himself right now and is in need of a good assistant coach. “I don’t have an assistant and that makes things a lot harder. Two working with the kids is better than one, that is for sure.”

He is confident in the team he has, but he feels they have a long way to go.

“What has been hurting us is we are not getting time to practice,” Patterson stated. “The basketball teams have been using the gym, and it has been raining or snowing almost every day. I think we have had a total of five days of practice. We are learning and right now our games are giving us time to learn.

“You can watch us and see we need to practice because of our unforced errors. We played Washburn recently and lost 4-3, and all of their runs were unforced errors. If we could control our errors, we could win several games.”

Another disadvantage for Coach Patterson is he is playing in a conference he does not know much about.

“I am learning as I go, but I do know Hampton, Unaka and University High are really good teams. I hope we can at least compete with them.”

Coach Patterson does, however, have some good players returning. The team lost several very good players last year because of graduation, but they still have Collin Morgan returning and he has already hit two home runs for Cloudland.

“Collin is a really good player, and Elisha Guinn and Collin are our primary pitchers. The team works together well, but as I said we just have to get rid of all of the errors,” Patterson continued.

“I want to change the culture of this team, and I know this will not happen in just one year. I want them to know they can play better, and they can get a good education and live better. If I can do that, I will have made a difference, no matter how many ballgames I win.”