Baseball

High school baseball: Pecoraro, Sargeant reunite to coach sons in senior season at Prairie Ridge

Pecoraro, Sargeant reunite to coach sons

They still laugh about the crazy coincidence and how their wives wound up having babies on the same day, in the same hospital and even ended up in the same room.

Fortunately, it rained on May 9, 1996, so then-Crystal Lake Central baseball coach Jay Sargeant and then-Central sophomore coach Glen Pecoraro could concentrate on more important things, like their wives – Kristi Sargeant and Beth Pecoraro – giving birth.

“It was perfect we had the rainout,” Jay Sargeant said.

Sargeant stayed in baseball two more years at Central, then became head basketball coach and later moved into administration with District 155. Pecoraro started the baseball program at Prairie Ridge when the school opened in August 1997 and turned it into one of the area’s best.

The families remained close through the years, two sets of sons were close friends and grew up playing baseball together.

Now, Pecoraro and Sargeant are experiencing a come-full-circle season back together in the dugout at Prairie Ridge.

And each is doing so with a senior son – David Pecoraro and Nick Sargeant.

“David and Nick played for Jay in our Junior Wolves teams when they were 11 until 14,” Glen Pecoraro said. “Most of the time I was gone and it was Jay coaching. He was a big part of a lot of years with those teams, even when Marcus and Danny were playing. He’s had an impact on my boys.”

Marcus Sargeant and Danny Pecoraro – those May 9, 1996 babies – played together for the Wolves in 2013 and 2014.

Now, Glen Pecoraro does more coaching with Nick Sargeant, the Wolves’ first baseman and No. 2 hitter, while Jay Sargeant, as pitching coach, works closely with David Pecoraro, one of Prairie Ridge’s top relief pitchers.

Former pitching coach Andy Deain and his wife, Abbey, had their first child, Emery, in January. So Deain opted to step away from baseball this season. Pecoraro, who coached Deain in high school and thinks highly of his work, knew right where to look for a replacement.

Jay Sargeant, who finished his 10th year as principal at Cary-Grove last year, returned to the classroom to teach math and was transferred to Prairie Ridge.

“I was really excited about the opportunity,” Jay Sargeant said. “As a renewed first-year teacher, I was thinking I wasn’t going to coach. I knew he needed somebody. The opportunity was great, but if he used me for sophomore or freshman I would have missed my son’s entire senior season. It just made sense and it fit.”

It makes for a lot of father-son time for both families.

“It’s been fun,” David Pecoraro said. “When I was younger I had a hard time dealing with failure. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve matured and it made it much easier to play for my dad, because he’s always harder on his son.”

David Pecoraro has thrown well in his role as a bridge reliever from the starter to closer Ben Harris. His father appreciates his durability and the way he can bounce back quickly. He was instrumental in Monday’s 6-5, eight-inning victory at Cary-Grove with 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

After games, naturally, there is a lot of dissecting of what transpired.

“We talk about what happened, what we should have done, what we shouldn’t have done,” David Pecoraro said. “Over dinner that’s usually what happens.”

Glen Pecoraro said he learned after “butting heads” with Danny a few years ago and how to better handle coaching a son.

“Danny and I struggled, we are kind of the same personalities,” Glen Pecoraro said. “I was hard on him all the time. With David, I backed off and I’m not nearly as hard as I was. David’s more low-key, very easy to coach, controls his emotions really well, doesn’t get too excited.”

Pecoraro feels that works well for David as a relief pitcher.

Nick Sargeant has played for his father for a lot of his career.

“It’s been really awesome to learn the game through the years I’ve been with him,” Nick said. “Him and coach Pec combined, they just make the game much easier and better to understand. Getting him my senior year to spend time with and be one of his players is outstanding.”

Jay Sargeant gave Glen Pecoraro the Central sophomore job back in 1996 knowing he was going to take over at Prairie Ridge. He wanted Pecoraro to have the experience running his own team, plus it let him coach some underclassmen who would be going to Prairie Ridge.

No one would have suspected, through the years, they would reunite in high school baseball.

“It’s neat to be around varsity athletes and see their level of competition and level of intensity,” Jay Sargeant said. “It’s a refresher. It’s been fantastic.”

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