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Union County coach Scott Gray wins No. 300

Union County High School softball coach Scott Gray spends a teaching moment on the field with Haylee Richards last spring in Liberty. Richards is one of many players that haveworn theLady Patriots uniform for Gray, who has coached for 17 years. On Thursday, UC defeated Union City for Gray’s 300th coaching win.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

UNION CITY — The Union County High School softball team earned a win over Tri-Eastern Conference foe Union City on Thursday evening.

The victory was big, as all conference wins typically are. But this one, 19-0 shutout, was anything but typical. This one carried an added significance.

It was also Scott Gray’s 300th victory as head coach.

“To be honest, it wasn’t something that I had really thought about, until last year when someone asked me how many I had won,” the 17-year mentor said. “When I did take a look at it, I could not believe that the number was 295 at the end of last season. I just didn’t realize that we had that many in the time I had been here.

“It’s been one heck of an exciting run, that’s for sure,” he added. “I was talking to Cambridge City coach Scott Griffin and he was telling me that he was right at 100 wins. The advice I gave him was to make sure to enjoy every one of them, they all go by so fast.”

The Lady Patriots got Gray pointed toward No. 300 early on Thursday, scoring four times in the first inning, before adding six more in the second. 

Six more Union County tallies in the fifth inning removed any doubt.

Offensive support was found throughout the UC line-up. Tara Williams finished with three hits to lead the team. She was followed with multi-hit efforts from Fayth Hill, Rainey Shepler and Kristin Klein. The Patriots collected a total of 15 hits in the game.

On the mound, Hill and Roya Walton combined to limit the Lady Indians to one hit, collected by Katie Richards. Hill earned the victory, tossing three innings.

Suffering the loss for Union City was Kahlee Dowler.

Gray said that the team was unaware of the milestone heading into the game.

“Nobody knew about it except for a couple coaches,” he said. “Afterward, I just wanted the girls to know that this says something about our program and how much of a role they’ve played in that.”

Though the wins continued to pile up for Gray, the sideline boss insists it’s always been about the kids.

“If I could give a personal shout out to every one of the kids I have coached in person, I would do that in a heartbeat,” he said. “This is about building relationships with these kids and creating lasting memories together with them.

“I have been very lucky. I have had girls that have come in and worked so hard. They have made coaching both fun and easy.”

 Gray and the Patriots will look to extend that win total with a road contest at Knightstown on Monday.