Greg Gehring is what you call a coach’s dream.
When Southold High School baseball coach Mike Carver needed to fill some holes on the team prior to this season, he asked his senior catcher to play another position.
Gehring did not hesitate for a second.
“We had problems in the outfield, so we had to move stuff,” he said. “So I just said that I could play other positions. I thought I could help the team out.”
He sure has helped out the First Settlers, who will enter the Suffolk County Class C finals as the top seed against Pierson/Bridgehampton. The teams will tussle in a best-of-three series that starts in Southold on Thursday.
Gehring has played here, there and everywhere for Southold. Most recently he featured at third base in a 12-2 win over Bishop McGann-Mercy in the Suffolk County League VIII regular-season finale for both schools in Riverhead Saturday.
“It was a nice way to end it going into the playoffs,” he said.
Carver has appreciated Gehring’s team spirit and versatility.
“I pick one player on this team that really has become a coach’s dream; it has been Greg,” he said. “Greg’s been selfless, totally selfless this year. He loves to catch. That’s his prime [position]. He can play any position. He’s pitched, he’s caught, he’s played the field. He played third, he played first. He didn’t play the outfield yet, but he does anything I ask of him.
“He says, ‘Whatever makes us better.’ As a coach to have that, for a kid that will do anything, it’s a nice feeling.”
Gehring, who attended Mercy from seventh grade through his sophomore year, returned to the school’s baseball field for the first time Saturday since transferring to Southold.
“It felt weird being in the other dugout, but it was nice finally being back,” he said. “It was a good time.”
Especially when he was batting third. He finished with two hits and two runs batted in and two runs scored. He drove in Southold’s first run in the opening inning with a double and another in the second on a single.
“I’m glad for him,” Carver said. “He had a good game. He hit the ball hard today. He hit the ball hard every time he was up.”
Gehring is allowed to dream himself. He wants to return to the state tournament. Last year the Settlers reached the semifinals in Binghamton, where they were beaten by Hoosic Valley.
Gehring said, “I think we can go pretty far and do some nice things.”
Photo caption: Southold senior Greg Gehring gave up his catching position in order to help the team. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)