Chad Cregar (Radio Readings)
-Graham Doty, Broadcast Assistant
There are baseball players who have been blessed with a canon for an arm or with blazing speed. You hear the term “5 tool baseball player” mentioned. Then there are players who are productive through hard work and determination. Chad Cregar of the Greensboro Grasshoppers fits into the later category.
Chad and I are both from Oxford, Mississippi, a picturesque college town in the northern part of the state. Chad is a year older than me, but we played little league baseball together. Even in little league, Chad could hit the baseball. Most guys that age change sports with the seasons, but not Chad, he was a baseball player.
In Chad’s senior year at Oxford High School he helped lead his team to the state championship. He batted something north of .500 and, I believe, that he was the team Most Valuable Player. Three of his fellow teammates signed baseball scholarships with big name Southeastern Conference schools. There were no suitors for Chad. Very quietly, he signed with our local community college, Northwest Community College and prepared himself to play at the next level.
At Northwest, he did what he had always done, hit the baseball. He had two productive years at Northwest and this time there was a Division 1 scholarship offer. Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green, gave Chad the opportunity to continue to play the game of baseball.
In Chad’s first season with the Hilltoppers, he enjoyed a year that very few players have ever experienced. He was in the top-5 in the nation in home runs (21) and runs batted in (82). He received many honors and looked forward to the major league baseball draft. Again, there were few suitors and he was not drafted until the 47th round by the Chicago Cubs. Chad did what he had done in the past and very quietly went back to work and decided to return for his senior year at WKU.
His senior year was more of the same. He finished with 16 home runs and 63 runs batted in. The Hilltoppers earned a spot in the Oxford Regional. WKU beat Missouri twice and lost to Ole Miss once. They found themselves in the position of having to beat Ole Miss, the home team, twice in order to advance to the Super Regional.
Ole Miss took an early lead and added several runs until they had a commanding lead. By the bottom of the seventh the Ole Miss fans felt this one was in the books. The Ole Miss right field section is the student section, Ole Miss’ answer to Wrigley Field’s bleacher bums. The students began to taunt Chad, who was playing right field. He answered their taunt by raising his hand to the bill of his cap and nodded ever so slightly.
In the eighth inning, with his team down to their last six outs, Chad came up to the plate and promptly hit a shot over the center field wall. The Hilltoppers scored six runs in the inning to tie the game. They took the lead in the ninth and Ole Miss, in a state of shock, was unable to respond.
An unusual thing happened in those two innings. Chad, through his play and the manner that he carried himself, won the respect of the student section. He became “off limits” to any taunts for the rest of the regional. It was something to behold.
The dramatic victory set up a final game with Ole Miss. WKU’s pitching staff was depleted and Ole Miss responded with a great pitching performance from Drew Pomeranz. Ole Miss won the game and the regional. Chad finished his collegiate career in his home town in front of his friends and family. This time around he was drafted in the 15th round by the Florida Marlins.
Chad and his Grasshopper teammates have one more game to play at L. P. Fran Stadium. Pull hard for our Crawdads, but keep an eye on Chad. He is a very fine example that hard work and determination pays off. He plays with a lot of heart and he carries himself with a lot of character.
Graham is in his first season as
broadcast assistant with the Crawdads. The Oxford, Mississippi native
graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2010 with a degree in
broadcast journalism. He has spent the last two summers broadcasting
games for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He
enjoys all Ole Miss Athletics and spending time with family and friends.