It’s a good thing Gage Pregno didn’t believe any of Scott Tubbs’ early baseball assessments.
As a seventh-grader at Macon-East, Pregno failed to impress his head coach during team tryouts and was left off the junior varsity’s roster.
“I didn’t think as a seventh-grader that he had the stuff that we were looking for at the time,” said Tubbs, the former Macon-East coach recalled during Pregno’s signing day ceremony at Edgewood. “He was small and really skinny.”
The hard-throwing left-hander didn’t let that be a deterrent from chasing his dreams.
“It really gave me something to motivate myself to come out and do better the next year and prove him wrong,” said Pregno, who signed with Samford on Wednesday. “I used it a lot as fuel to motivate me. I just had a bad tryout — I couldn’t do anything right. But I knew I was better than that.”
And he’s been proving Tubbs wrong ever since.
Last spring, Pregno was 8-4 with a 2.50 ERA for the Knights to earn first-team All-Metro honors and a spot in the AISA All-Star game. The 6-foot senior owns a 21-7 record with 183 strikeouts through 124 innings with two no-hitters over his prep career.
“His hard work and effort has paid off,” Tubbs said. “You can see it. He’s very confident up there on the mound and dominating most of the time when he’s pitching. When it was a big game, I wanted him on the mound.”
It was his second no-hitter — last season against Pike Liberal Arts — which got the ball rolling on the recruiting side. With pro baseball scouts on hand to look at someone else, the southpaw literally stole the spotlight with his April 3 performance at home.
“In that game, everything was clicking,” said Pregno, who transferred to Edgewood this academic year. “I had good run support from my teammates, good defense behind me and my catcher called a great game.”