Natomas Little League All-star Overcame the Odds


Jordan Greenly winds up on the mound in North Natomas. / Photo by Maddy Godt

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Jordan Greenly stands on the mound with laser focus. Eyes set right on the catcher’s signal, he winds up and throws a pitch – STRIKE!

The ball is tossed back to him and he is ready to go again, no time is wasted. The 12-year-old attacks the strike zone the same way when he is at the plate.

Greenly doesn’t miss an opportunity to take advantage of any situation. That’s because when this baseball all-star was born, moments like these weren’t expected.

“He wasn’t supposed to live,” his mom Joanna Greenly said. “When they told us it was less than a 10 percent chance, and then it got worse and they stopped giving us statistics. So when I look at him out there, it just amazes me. It really does. He’s a miracle.”

Jordan at 5 days old. / Courtesy Photo

Jordan at 5 days old. / Courtesy Photo

Not Giving Up

Greenly was born with Group B Strep Pneumonia which causes infections in the lungs and bloodstream of newborns diagnosed with early-onset at birth. His body failed. He stopped breathing within an hour after birth because of the infection in his lungs and he was put in a medically induced coma.

“We were really uncertain if he was going to live,” his father Dave Greenly said. “Everyday is a chance to celebrate his life. It’s something you don’t take for granted.”

Doctors warned Greenly’s parents of possible long-term ailments such as brain damage, lung problems, learning disabilities, hearing or sight loss.

And until Greenly was 3-years-old, he was unable to run without coughing. But soon after, his breathing improved.

Greenly over the weekend helped lead the North Natomas Vanderbilt Commodores to a District 6 major division championship. He went 2 for 3 with a solo home run that sailed nearly 300 feet, well beyond the center field fence. Greenly also pitched a complete game, beating Antelope 4-3 for the first majors title in the 10-year history of the North Natomas Little League.

The North Natomas resident is also a majors all-star for little league which begins play Sunday, June 29 in Rio Linda. Later this summer Greenly will play for the United States Specialty Sports Association 12-and-under Northwest all-star team, for which he was the No. 1 overall pick (one of only three on the 12-player roster are from the Sacramento region).

Finding His Passion

Baseball is a family tradition. Greenly’s father was a baseball player as a youth and continued to play recreational baseball and softball. He would take Greenly to games, where he would sit in the dugout, and learn the mechanics of baseball.

When Greenly was old enough to play himself, his parents enrolled him in tee ball even though he had 20/400 vision due to strabismus in his left eye. Not only was he able to hit off the tee, but Greenly was also hitting pitches thrown to him and he fell in love with the game.

“He was the only one out there not picking daisies,” his mom said. “He was focused on the coach. You knew he was going to be a great baseball player.”

At age 8, surgery was done to correct the Greenly’s eyesight leaving him with perfect vision – and that laser focus.

Doctors don’t know how Greenly has been able to overcome such daunting prognosis at birth to become the “physical beast” described by his father.

“The only explanation the doctors gave us for him to live, is he’s so strong,” his mom said. “That was it. (Doctors) could not tell us anything that they did. ”

Greenly now looks and plays the part of an all-star baseball standout who has to make a tough, yet exciting choice this season.

If the North Natomas all-stars advance through the District 6 and Section 4 playoffs, Greenly will have to make a decision. The West Regionals in San Bernardino, the final stop before Williamsport, are the same week as the USSSA tournament in Florida.

“I’m very excited and feel very fortunate to be able to play with kids all over the state,” Greenly said about being chosen to the USSSA team. “I am honored to do it.”

But if the North Natomas all-stars advance, he has already made up his mind.

“I’d rather be with my all-star team,” he added. “If we can make it, it’s Williamsport all the way.”

Giving Back

Greenly is as humble as he is talented and he is thankful to be alive.

“I cherish every moment and just try to go out and play my hardest every time and play my heart out,” Greenly said. “I love my sister. I look up to her and want to be like her as a person.”

He has dedicated the season to his sister Rachel, 20, who is a nursing major volunteering at a Mother Teresa hospice in India. Greenly said he’d like to help her one day create a non-profit organization.

“He’s such a good kid and plays so hard,” said Greenly’s dad. “I love that he is talented, but even happier that he is a good kid and a great citizen of the community.”

Contact Trevor Horn at [email protected] and on Twitter @trevhorn.


Jordan with his parents after his team won the District 6 tournament of championships game last week. / Photo: Trevor Horn


  1. Way to go Jordan! Great kid with a pair of great parents!

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