Scott Grove won his 400th game as a high school baseball coach earlier this month and reflected on some of the most memorable of those.
ORLANDO Scott Grove has won a lot of baseball games as a coach at the varsity level.
In fact, the coach at The First Academy has won 402 of them in a career that has spanned stints at Colonial High and Timber Creek High before his time leading the Royals.
Grove and his team celebrated No. 400 two weeks ago March 7 with a double-header victory against Virginia’s Norfolk Christian.
“I was thinking when we won that 400th game the other night that these kids weren’t even born (when he started coaching),” Grove said. “I don’t feel old, but I am old.”
Grove is in his fourth season at TFA after spending 12 seasons at Timber Creek and four at Colonial.
Looking back on his career so far, Grove says there are a handful of those 402 victories that stand out — and four of them came within the span of three days in 2014.
In his first season leading the Royals, Grove took his ball club to Cary, N.C., for USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational Tournament. There, TFA won four games in three days to win the championship — including a victory in the final against Clovis (Calif.), which was ranked No. 3 in the nation heading into the event.
“It really kind of put TFA on the map,” Grove recalled. “That was a huge win for us. If you could turn back the clock and say ‘what was your best week of high school baseball?’ That would be it.”
Grove also fondly recalls wins taking Timber Creek to two appearances in the Final Four (2010 and 2012), as well as when his Colonial Grenadiers defeated Oviedo 6-4 in the state semifinals in 2000.
The Wolves beat Jacksonville's Mandarin High 4-1 in 2010 to reach the Final Four and then defeated Tampa's Wharton High 5-3 in 2012 to reach that destination. Both Timber Creek teams were defeated in the state semifinals.
Grove, who has hit the centennial mark in wins four times now, says that it has worked out that each time that has happened, it has happened with a memorable team — including this year’s Royals, who are 8-1 so far.
“It’s just kind of neat,” Grove said. “Every year that I’ve hit a hundred-mark, the team (that season) has been really special. This is one of the best groups of kids I’ve ever coached.”
Reflecting on this year’s team, Grove feels plenty optimistic that more memorable wins may well be on the way.
“We’re young — the majority of the pitching staff is sophomores, so it’s really kind of exciting for the future,” Grove said. “It’s just a good group. They’re really close-knit.”
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