The Garner (N.C.) High baseball team may have been eliminated early in the North Carolina baseball state playoffs, but no one can blame the program's most famous pitcher.
As reported by the News & Observer, the Trojans were eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs by Rose (N.C.) High, which emerged with a 9-2 victory. That result was rarely in question after Rose jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two innings.
Yet that's when Garner brought in the most famous teen to ever don a Trojans baseball jersey: American Idol Scotty McCreery. The senior, who returned to school for his senior year to finish up his diploma and play one final baseball season, closed out his career in fine fettle, pitching the final five innings of the game and holding a powerful Rose offense to just three runs, only one of which was earned.
"They continued to peck away at him, but he competed," Garner coach Derek Goffena told the News & Observer. "At the beginning of the year, I thought Scott might be able to give up a handful of useful innings, but he emerged as a very effective pitcher. I knew he would compete, but I had no idea he would be this effective."
Indeed, McCreery played a major role in the Trojans' 15-10 campaign. By season's end, McCreery was one of the program's most consistent pitchers, peaking at the right time to help pilot a playoff berth and then shine in his final innings of prep baseball.
For a man who is almost certain to earn riches in music in the impending future — and who likely passed up some appearances to play a final season of baseball — McCreery clearly had no regrets.
"You're only 18 once and I wanted to be with my friends," McCreery, who flew out the following day to perform in Nashville, told the News & Observer. "I just wish we could have played a little big longer.
"[The loss hurt], but I'll go on stage and smile."