It's hard to believe that this is Steve Messina's 21st year coaching the Mount Greylock baseball team.
A former coach in the Pittsfield Babe Ruth League and someone who has also served as the offensive coordinator for the Taconic football team, Messina said he's had three mentors that helped him learn how to become a better coach over the years. His father, who coached him in Little League, and former UMass baseball coach Dick Bergquist, taught Messina "the game and the importance of the game," while former Mount Greylock football coach John Allen taught him "many lessons on the art of coaching."
Under Messina's guidance, the Mounties have won three Western Mass. championships (1994, 1997 and 2009) and at least 10 South Division titles. While Messina said all three sectional championships were equally special, the 1994 team stands out because it was Greylock's first title and because of the memorable way the game was decided. Playing on the campus of UMass-Amherst, the Mounties trailed rival Drury 5-4 with two outs in the top of the seventh inning when Colin O'Neil hit a game-winning three-run home run.
The '94 team also included players like Tim Flaherty, Norm Sweet and Ryan Cameron. Flaherty and Cameron were each drafted into the Major League after their junior years in college, while Sweet went on to become captain of the North Adams State College team.
Last spring, Messina led Greylock to a 13-10 record and a run to the Division 2 Western Mass. semifinals. The ninth-seeded Mounties first took down eighth-seeded Southwick 5-0 in the first round before shocking the county with a 4-0 win over top-seeded Monument Mountain in the quarterfinals. The Mounties eventually fell to fourth-seeded Palmer 8-0 in the sectional semifinals to end a fantastic postseason run.
A 1981 graduate of Taconic, Messina played both football and baseball in high school before going on to play baseball for Bergquist at UMass. Messina currently works as the Dean of Students at Wahconah Regional HIgh School.