One day, while watching his dad and two brothers play catch, Hauck picked up a glove and did what came natural, catching the ball before carefully removing the glove and throwing the ball back with his left arm.
Hauck became so good that when he entered the Cal Ripken metro youth league as a 6-year-old, he played up two age groups on the Maryland Orioles.
As pitcher, catcher, outfielder and first baseman, Hauck caught the attention of the Baltimore Orioles legend himself. Ripken encouraged Hauck to look up videos of Jim Abbott, the former major league pitcher who excelled with no right hand.
“With Gregg [as an outfielder], you’re talking about a ball being hit maybe 100 feet away or 20 feet away from him or on the run, and he’s making plays like someone without a disability,” said DeMatha Coach Sean O’Connor, who coached Hauck on Team Maryland in the Perfect Game/Evoshield National Championships this past summer. “It’s amazing.”
Not everyone has been so enamored of Hauck’s adjusted style of play.
One parent, after seeing Hauck field and throw a ball, ignorantly chastised the Maryland Orioles for not being able to afford the right gloves. On days Hauck pitched, kids would sometimes gather behind the fence, gawking at “the kid with one arm.”
The condition even almost got Hauck ejected from a game. Rather than ask why the 8-year-old catcher employed his glove switch-and-throw for three-plus innings, an umpire threatened to toss Hauck from the contest if his coach didn’t get him a right-handed mitt.
“I’m just thinking in my head, ‘Are you serious?’ ” recalled Hauck, who now makes a point to alert umpires of his condition during out-of-county games.
Eventually, the coach and tournament director talked down the umpire, who apologized to Hauck and his parents the next day.
‘Why stop now?’
It wasn’t until Hauck considered playing baseball at North County as a freshman that he began to harbor reservations.
With the spring sports season just days away, Knights soccer Coach Scott McGuire asked Hauck if he planned on trying out for baseball. The freshman shrugged, saying he didn’t know.
“I said to him, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ ” said McGuire, an assistant baseball coach at the time. “He’d already played two sports and done well, so why stop now?”
The words were enough to push Hauck on the mound that week, where he needed just 10 pitches to secure a spot on varsity.
“I didn’t have to see him hit or play the outfield or anything,” Knights baseball Coach Wayne Feuerherd said. “Just pitching-wise, he had enough.”
By the seventh game of the 2010 season, Hauck had settled in, pitching a tie game into the seventh inning against a nationally ranked Severna Park squad that featured three future NCAA Division I players and escaped with a 2-1 win on a late Knights fielding error.
As a child, Hauck sometimes wondered what life would be like without a disability, but after leading the Knights to their first county soccer title and the baseball team to its best start since 2009, any change that Hauck sees now is positive.
“From the beginning, I could tell what type of athlete Gregg was and he’s never let his [birth] injury be a factor,” Feuerherd said. “It’s there, but once people find out, they are always amazed because you can’t really tell, and he’s still become one of the county’s best all-around athletes.”