Belle Vernon baseball standout Garrett Greco commits to Gardner-Webb

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Monday, November 30, 2020 | 12:01 AM


Though Tony Watson has only been at the helm of the Belle Vernon baseball program for a short time, he’s been around senior Garrett Greco long enough to see how hard he’s worked to get to where he is today.

“I’ve watched him develop into a Division I ball player, starting back when he was in the seventh grade,” Watson said. “His work ethic is unparalleled, and he is constantly putting in time in the cages and weight room.”

Greco has put in the work and earned an opportunity to play at the next level.

The star infielder announced last week his commitment to continue his academic and baseball careers at Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C.

Greco will play for Liberty Borough native Jim Chester, who took over the program in June 2019.

“I’ve put a lot of time into this, and it’s always been my dream to play at the next level, especially at the Division I level,” said Greco, who plans to major in finance or accounting. “It feels good to see all of the hard work finally pay off.”

In addition to Gardner-Webb, Greco had offers from Youngstown State, Akron, Eastern Michigan and Lafayette.

“When I went to Gardner-Webb to visit, I really liked their campus and all of their facilities,” Greco said. “I liked that the university has very good Christian values, too.”

Prior to the season being cut short because of the covid-19 pandemic this past spring, the Runnin’ Bulldogs posted an 8-8 record under Chester’s guidance.

“He’s been a winner everywhere that he has coached, and he’s turned some programs around,” Greco said of Chester. “Gardner-Webb has been a very good program in the Big South Conference, so it’s very exciting to be a part of that.”

Greco’s recruiting process wasn’t a simple one as the covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench into his plans.

It made things difficult for Watson to help his players get recognized, too.

“It was a major challenge as a first-year coach to get information out to college coaches and recruiters,” Watson said. “Even during these crazy times, though, Garrett stayed the course and got his name out there.”

Greco had his junior season at Belle Vernon wiped out by the pandemic this past spring, but he did get the opportunity to don his school colors during play in the Western Pennsylvania Summer Baseball League.

Greco played a key role in helping to lead the Leopards to a championship appearance in the league’s inaugural season.

“Garrett has worked his tail off for this,” Watson said. “Gardner-Webb is getting a good one.”

After hitting over .400 as a freshman, Greco had another solid season as a sophomore in 2019. He hit .328, ranked third on the team with 22 hits and added five RBIs in addition to 15 runs scored.

“I feel like I can bring a strong work ethic and good leadership,” said Greco, the son of George and Mary Ann Greco of Rostraver Township. “I can bring my versatility as well. I feel like I could play any position at the next level.”

In addition to spending time with the Leopards during his high school season, Greco has also played travel ball for the Pittsburgh Outlaws and Team All-American.

This past summer, Greco was able to establish himself as a Division I-caliber player while participating in the All-American Collegiate League in Pittsburgh.

The league was organized by Connor Perry, a Norwin and Pitt alumnus who plays in the Detroit Tigers organization. It consisted of current college players from around the area as well as a few high school standouts.

Playing in a league in which the average fastball velocity was 87 mph, Greco hit .361 with a home run, three doubles and a triple. He proved to be a key asset for the Shoff Construction Chuckers on their way to the league championship.

“That gave me the confidence that I could play at the next level,” Greco said.

Now, with his college commitment out of the way, Greco has his sights set on the spring season.

He hopes to help bring the Leopards a section championship and put an end to a long playoff drought.

“I’m hoping this year isn’t the same as last year,” Greco said. “We’re going to work to get bigger, stronger and faster during the offseason. We’re going to do whatever it takes to hopefully bring a section title back to Belle Vernon and reverse the curse in the playoffs.”

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