CHESAPEAKE (WAVY) — We’re approaching the end of an era in local high school baseball.
After more than 500 wins and 11 state championships, Gary Lavelle will step down as head coach at Greenbrier Christian Academy.
“I was extremely happy with the time I spent here,” Lavelle said. “All the great young men have I’ve had to work with, a lot of fond memories of all these young men.”
There’s still unfinished business. Tomorrow the Gators play Miller School in the VISAA state semifinals.
“I would love to go out with another state title with this group of young men,” Lavelle said. “They have been outstanding, they’ve got a lot of character on this team and a tremendous amount of fine players that worked hard and they deserve it.”
“That would be awesome,” senior Garrett Jones said. “He’s just done so much for all of us and we are just so thankful for it and we’ve gotta get him a championship his last game.”
“He’s got a lot of state titles under his belt,” said senior Carson Henry. “To send him out in his last year would be really special.”
Lavelle was a major league pitcher for 13 seasons and was a two-time All Star. He took a five year break from Greenbrier in the late 90’s to work as a pitching coach for the New York Yankees.
“Just getting to talk to him, getting to pick his brain,” said pitcher Casey Williams. “Trying to learn the things that he knows has really helped all of us.”
“Coach Lavelle has been GCA baseball for 30 however many years,” Jones said. “He’s gotten so many of us kids to come here and he’s been a great role model for us.
Lavelle said he’d still like to help out with the team next year, and he realizes the impact he’s had on the many athletes he’s coached and mentored throughout the years.
“It’s rewarding to know that you had a little bit of a part in their lives and helped them reach their goals,” Lavelle said.
If Greenbrier defeats Miller tomorrow in Colonial Heights, it would play for Lavelle’s 12th state title on Saturday.