Catcher makes lasting impression for Seneca Valley
Although his final high school game did not turn out like he had hoped, Seneca Valley catcher Brad Gresock firmly secured his legacy of greatness.
The senior was determined to preserve a 2-2 tie against rival North Allegheny in extra innings of the PIAA quarterfinals. With a runner bearing down on home plate and the ball on its way, Gresock came down the line to secure the ball. He was involved in a ferocious collision, and although the run scored and Gresock had to leave the game, his willingness, unselfishness and ability to go all out summarized a stellar career.
“The past week has been tough, but I am feeling a lot better,” Gresock said.
Gresock has been the Raiders starting catcher for three seasons. He earned the job as a sophomore and said that year's senior class pointed the way in regard to displaying responsibility, accountability and leadership. Gresock saw those lessons and methods pay off in a WPIAL championship that season, then again the next year. He took on that responsibility to make sure the future of the team understood the Raider way, and that message was well-received.
“I am not one to hand out compliments lightly, but Brad is one of the kindest people,” said star pitcher Connor Coward. “He never has a problem with people in baseball or life.
“Brad is as mentally tough as a pitcher and never has a lapse. He is a good kid and I hang out with some of the North Allegheny players and they all speak well of him.”
Perhaps Gresock is the perfect combination of good nature, smarts and skill, but whatever makes him tick is appreciated on so many levels.
His baseball career started at age 5. He began catching at age 9 for a Beaver Valley travel team. As he grew up, he incorporated another love of his with baseball — wood working.
“My dad and I worked together and made our first bat together when I was 13,” Gresock said. “I did give something up this season though, which was hard to do.”
Gresock was a starter on the football team as a sophomore, too, but he realized his sports future was going to be baseball, so he gave up his senior season of football.
“I played football since I was seven, but baseball is my love,” he said.
Gresock made the right choice; he will attend St. Bonaventure, a Division I school, this fall.
The opportunity is not surprising to those around Gresock, as he shares the things he does to help him stay on the right path.
“I am just dedicated, I leave it all out on the field,” he said. “I work on hitting, I eat good food and make good choices. I do all I can to be the best I can.”
This mentality is not a new one for Gresock. It is a lifetime of work paying off.
In his first home game as a varsity starter, Gresock was the designated hitter and went 3 for 3 and scored the winning run. In his final home game, he hit a walk-off homer. Both games were against rival North Allegheny.
“That last at-bat was in the bottom of the seventh in a 2-2 game,” Gresock said. “Facing a 3-2 count, I put it over the left-field fence. That was a great moment. Something special.”
Another moment Gresock is proud of has nothing to do with wins and losses. During that regular-season game against North Allegheny, teammate Alex Hajduk struck out just prior to Gresock's homer.
“I walked from the on-deck circle and told him to forget it,” Gresock said. “From that day on, I felt like I saw more confidence in him. I feel he will help this team be successful next year. Connor also has that in him.
“I just hope I left an impact and showed how things need to be done.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.