Stick with anything long enough, and good things will eventually come. Even if there is sometimes a surprise or two along the way.
While Waccamaw baseball coach Jeff Gregory knew his next win would allow him to reach a career milestone, he just didn’t know when. Also hanging in the wind was how things would be decided in Region VI-3A, where what transpired 51 miles away in Aynor would finally confirm the Warriors’ postseason path.
As fate would have it for Gregory, Friday night could not have been gift-wrapped in finer fashion.
Down by a run going into the bottom of the seventh, Waccamaw rallied to scratch two runs across to deliver the program’s longtime baseball coach his 200th career victory, a 4-3 win over Jefferson (W. Va.).
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A sacrifice fly by Alex Nash allowed McKinley Grooms to tie the game at 3-all. Two batters later, a Brecken Fox chopper found its way past Jefferson second baseman Alex Tennant into right field, bringing Luke Montenery in for the winning run.
Shortly afterward, Gregory and the Warriors received an added bit of good news. Needing only a win to secure an outright league title, Lake City was unable to finish the job, falling 2-0 at Aynor.
By virtue of the Blue Jackets’ win, it created a three-way tie for the Region VI-3A crown. After going through the first and second tiebreaker scenarios, it was Waccamaw that came out on top, claiming the conference’s No. 1 spot and a home date Tuesday against Timberland in the District VI-3A playoffs.
“It was definitely a good night,” Gregory said. “We weren’t really too concerned about what was happening in Aynor, really. Our team just wanted to take care of what we could, and let the chips fall as they would.
“Thankfully, those chips fell in our favor.”
A 1992 graduate of Coastal Carolina, this is Gregory’s 25th season as a high school baseball coach, and 12th at Waccamaw.
During his tenure in the Warriors’ dugout, his teams have an 88-36 mark in region play. He also has an outright region title in 2013 on his resume, as well as a pair of district titles won in 2011 and 2015.
Twenty of his former players have gone on to play college baseball, with four of them playing at the Division I level.
In addition to his 12 seasons at Waccamaw, Gregory spent two at Carvers Bay.