The Anne Arundel County matchup marked the pitcher’s first start of the season, but the lefty felt anything but well-rested.
Hauck’s fatigue spilled into his warmup session, where a sore shoulder only further altered his off-target pitches. Working the outside edges of the strike zone would have to do, Hauck thought as he took the mound, fully bracing for the worst.
Ultimately, Hauck threw only 67 pitches in five innings; that’s all it took for North County to complete a 17-0 mercy-rule win and for Hauck to seal his first career no-hitter.
“It was weird because I felt like I was going to do really bad at first,” Hauck said. “I don’t know what it was, but it feels pretty neat now to have thrown a no-hitter.”
The impressive feat in difficult circumstances is nothing new for the 18-year-old.
A birth injury left Hauck with limited mobility in his right arm and of all the sports he loves, baseball requires the most adjustment.
Holding a bat and picking up items are no problem but without full range of motion, Hauck must employ a swift, subtle glove-and-ball switch when patrolling the outfield or manning the mound. After catching the baseball with his left-handed glove, Hauck snatches the glove off with his right hand while quickly rolling the ball back into his left for the throw.
“I had second thoughts about playing high school baseball because I was afraid people were going to make fun of me,” Hauck said. “But my soccer coach told me to at least try it out so I would know what it was like and not regret my decision. I gave it a shot, and I’m glad I did because I would have regretted not playing.”
So would his North County coaches and teammates. Hauck earned all-county honors last year and so far this season, the senior has justified his spot on the MSBCA preseason all-state team, using a fundamental swiping motion rather than a powerful swing to hit .500 with five RBI and a triple for the Knights (8-2).
While the injury limits his power numbers, the altered plate approach is barely noticeable to the naked eye.
But it’s soccer, not baseball, that is Hauck’s best sport. The four-year starter and first team All-Met midfielder is committed to play at UMBC, where he plans to study biology and pursue a career in physical therapy.
‘Years of tears’
A future in sports appeared out of the question after Hauck sustained a brachial plexus injury during birth, damaging the nerves in the neck that conduct the signals that control muscles in the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hands and fingers. This type of birth injury occurs in about one in every 1,000 births and in Hauck’s instance, doctors initially talked of amputating his right limb.
“His arm was almost lifeless and dead,” said Hauck’s mother, Sharlene.
Two years would pass before Sharlene and her husband, Ron, could determine how much their son’s development would be impaired. It was then that Gregg proved able to bring his right hand to his mouth, matching the most function any surgical procedure could produce and providing a foundation for his physical therapy sessions.