Hanging up no. 17
Being a great guy on the playing field isn’t enough to get a jersey retired. However that’s what most think of when talking about Gary Regira. Fortunately for Regira, he was a nightmare on the mound as a member of Ascension Catholic High baseball team in the 1980’s.
“If you were to tell me in high school that I would have a opportunity to play pro ball it would have been a shock,” Regira said after his no. 17 jersey was retired at Lala Regira Field on April 22.
Regira was an all-district pitcher, playing under former Bulldog’s coach Boybe Schexnayder for four years. He went on to play at Nicholls State University where he was an all-conference pitcher including a 9-3 record during his senior year, and still holds the school record for strikeouts in a season with 103 in 100 innings pitched.
Regira said that season was the most memorable of his playing career. Not only was he successful but also that was Nicholls’ most successful season as well with a 44-16 record.
The Montreal Expos in the 23rd round of the 1989 Major League Baseball draft selected Regira. He played three years in the minor league system before an injury ended his baseball career.
Regira said it’s a blessing to come back to the field he once dominated, especially with this honor.
“I hope I can set some kind of precedent for these young kids to make it known that it’s possible to come from a small town like this,” Regira said. “Even though it was hard I wouldn’t trade this for the world. This is a big honor.”
Current ACHS baseball head coach Todd Landry said Regira was a few years older than him but he remembers growing up watching him.
“He was a great pitcher and he had a great tone here at Ascension Catholic,” Landry said. “He was the first from the school to be drafted so he really set the tone for moving forward in the program history and the program went on to do great things so it was great to see him get homage for that.”
Regira is a family man now, married to Patty Lebo and has one son, Dylan. Dylan has participated in the Special Olympics for the last five years where he’s been awarded 13 medals.
“The Special Olympics is a blessing and I love the kids and I wish I had 10 kids like him,” Regira said.