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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, Mar. 28, 2022 3 months ago

The First Academy baseball coach wins 500th game

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Scott Grove earned the milestone March 14 with a 7-2 win over Olympia.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Scott Grove has accomplished many things during his time as the head coach of The First Academy’s baseball team

He brought the school a national championship in 2014 — his first year as head coach of the Royals — and then a state championship in 2021. And to start the 2022 season, the team has won 10 consecutive games to open the year, making it 32 straight dating back to last season. 

Now he can add one more accomplishment to his prestigious tenure: 500th game winner. 

Grove notched the milestone after his team’s 7-2 victory over Olympia March 14 during the FCSL Spring Break Tournament in Sanford. 

“It was special, but winning it with this team made it even more special,” Grove said. “We have so many seniors, and have had such a great run. … They’re so fun to be around, and they’re great kids, so it was great to have a milestone win with so many great kids.” 

After a run at Timber Creek that included three consecutive district titles from 2011-13, Grove came to TFA with the intent of replicating that success for the Royals. He also was looking for a bit of a change of pace. 

“I thought it was going to be nice to be at a Christian school,” he said. “My son was going into eighth grade at the time, and I thought it would be great if both my kids graduated from The First Academy.”

His wife, Shayne, is currently the Upper School principal at TFA, after serving as assistant head of school.

At TFA, Grove was walking into an up-and-coming team. The year prior to his arrival, the Royals finished 23-4 and got knocked out of the third round of the state playoffs by Melbourne Central Catholic. The team also had two future MLB first-rounders in Adam Haseley and Foster Griffin. Grove likened it to walking into a gold mine.  

The first year was beyond anything he or the school could have imagined. A win in the national invitational tournament earned TFA its first national championship as a baseball program. In 2021, the school won its first state championship.  

“We wanted to build something special as a baseball program,” Grove said. “It’s the best decision I ever made as far as switching schools.” 

Part of what makes the experience worthwhile for Grove has been the solid support of the athletic administration throughout his tenure. 

“It’s special there; they really do things the right way and support their coaches,” Grove said. “All the neat things that went into this season with the new turf, new locker room and new lights — you couldn’t ask for a better supporting cast. (Head of School) Dr. (Steve) Whitaker always keeps up with us; he was there for the 500th win on his spring break. He was also texting me to see how the tournament was going. We feel fortunate to be part of such a great family.” 

What made the 500th win feel even more special for Grove was the fact that in addition to the game, March 14 also marked his 26th wedding anniversary. 

“Makes it a double whammy,” Grove said.

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