NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)- Before each pitch, you can hear Ocean Lakes head baseball coach Gary Spedden barking signals. “The most important pitch is the next pitch,”said Spedden.
Spedden has been the only baseball coach in the 20 year history of Ocean Lakes high school. He recently was named the National Federation of State High School Coaches Association Mideast Sectional Coach of the Year and teacher of the year at Ocean Lakes. “I was deeply honored to receive both of those honors. It is humbling to be recognized in that way,” added Spedden.
Spedden grew up in the Richmond area where he played high school golf, but found his way onto the baseball diamond. Before landing at Ocean Lakes, Spedden was at Green Run for two years and before that, Lafayette for five. He likes the fact that baseball keeps you grounded. “And it humbles you. you learn a lot of life lessons. You can only control what you can control. Whats the most important pitch in the game? It’s always the next pitch. It’s always coming,” said Spedden.
Senior catcher Dominiq Castillo-Porterfield has Spedden as his government teacher but may have learned more important life lessons having Spedden as his coach. “He’s taught me not to be late. He’s taught me how to be a man and be accountable for myself. Really he’s taught me how to grow up.”
Before becoming an assistant coach, Mickey Apple played for Spedden at Ocean Lakes and says Spedden still adheres to old school ways. “Taking responsibility for your actions and preparing for success,” says Apple.
Spedden has taken his team to the state final twice, but is still searching for that state title. As far as what he demands from his players, take care of the little things. “Demand a lot of yourself and be respectful and be good people. I stole this saying from someone recently, there are now little things. If you take care of all the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” added Spedden.