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Salyer takes reins of Gate City baseball program

KEVIN MAYS, [email protected] • Aug 10, 2018 at 8:36 PM

GATE CITY — Jonathon Salyer is calling the shots again on the baseball diamond and he could not be happier about it.

Salyer, a former head coach at Castlewood, was recently named to head another Blue Devils baseball program, this time at Gate City.

“I’m really excited about being a head coach again,” he said. “We want to build our program so we are competing every year.”

Salyer knows a little about being a competitor from his playing days as one of Castlewood’s top athletes as well as his time coaching at his high school alma mater, where he guided the program to a Region 1D championship in his second of three years.

He also helped Gate City to a share of the Mountain 7 District championship in 2017 as an assistant coach under veteran coach Terry Fields.

Salyer was also an assistant this past spring when Gate City struggled through a 7-13 season.

The Scott County School Board did not renew Fields’ coaching contract this summer.

Heading into the 2019 season, Salyer is back to guiding a program and is looking for another title. But he knows it’s not going to be easy with the Blue Devils competing in the always-tough Mountain 7 District.

“Competing in the Mountain 7, which I think is the best baseball district in the state, is tough,” Salyer said. “You have to be prepared to play every game.

“There are also some great coaches in the district. To compete in this district, we have to work on baseball a lot. This fall and winter will be doing some workouts. And playing some games will be huge toward working to our success in the spring.”

Having one of the top catchers in the state back this spring is also a plus for Salyer and the Blue Devils.

The new coach makes no secret about building the program around Times News All-Southwest Virginia catcher Jon Compton. Compton finished last season with a .467 batting average and reached base in every game.

“In addition to Jon, we started several sophomores and freshmen last year so I hope to build on the experience they got last year,” Salyer noted.

Salyer’s knowledge of competition also comes on the home front. He’s married to Britney Lawson Salyer, the softball coach at Rye Cove — like Castlewood a member of the Cumberland District.

“It’s not very weird since Gate City and Rye Cove don’t really play each other,” he said. “It was weirder when I was at Castlewood and she was at the Cove.”

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