Scott Berry’s immaculate career ends one step short of Omaha after 5-0 loss to Tennessee


A three-run home run by Tennessee third baseman Zane Denton in the fifth inning sucked all the energy and life out of Pete Taylor Park and all but punched Tennessee’s trip to the College World Series. For Southern Miss head Coach Scott Berry, his coaching career at Southern Miss, which will be unmatched, ends in front of his dream place to coach at Pete Taylor Park with the 5-0 loss to Tennessee.

“When we have our first meetings in August, I always talk to the players the most important thing people will remember the person that you were.” Berry said. “The numbers will fade. But the person you are, the teammate you are, the coach you are. How you care for people and ow you try to build and mold the people that are around you, that’s who people will remember the most. That’s a big part of who I am. As I have gotten older, I understand the big picture.”

Berry has and will always be remembered for not only his accomplishments but also the man he was off the field. Team captain Danny Lynch made that abundantly clear after the game when he was discussing emotionally what Berry’s legacy meant to him.

“I think a big part of Coach Berry’s legacy is that I’ve played with probably a hundred or so guys since I’ve been here, maybe even more than that. You’re going to see so many of them become good fathers, good husbands, and good people out in the community. That’s the biggest thing he does here, he builds good men.” Lynch said.

Berry has been head coach for Southern Miss for the last 14 seasons and has been a part of the program for 23 years.

On May 16, Berry announced that he would retire at the end of the season. The winningest coach in Southern Miss history finished with a record of 482-257-1 and sent Southern Miss to back-to-back super regionals. He led his team to nine NCAA tournament berths, winning two NCAA regionals. He has led Southern Miss to a nation-leading seven 40-plus win seasons and a nation-leading most consecutive 30-plus win season with 21.

An immaculate career that lands just short of Omaha once again. After the final out, the crowd cheered louder than ever one final time for their coach.

“I’m just thankful. I was very, very humbled by that [crowd cheering]. To me that ensures the relationships that I’ve been able to build with outside of our team. We talk a lot about if you want people to invest in you, you have to invest in them. And that’s the relationship that I feel like that we have at Southern Miss baseball.” Berry said.

As for the game, the problems that Southern Miss had been dealing with most of the season came up at the worst possible time. Building up to this series, Southern Miss would have to play clean baseball to pull out the victory. In game two, they had four errors leading to runs for Tennessee; in game three, they left 11 runners on base and struck out 12 times.

The climax of the woes came in the top of the seventh inning. After back-to-back singles from Carson Paetow and Rodrigo Montenegro, the top of Southern Miss’s lineup struck out three straight times.

Southern Miss struck out 12 times in the game and could never catch up to the Tennessee pitchers’ velocity. They could never get freebies either with just two walks. A tough night at the yard and an even more emotional night after the final out occurred.

The future of Southern Miss baseball is in a great position thanks to the program that Berry has built at Southern Miss. In 14 years, he has given them seven straight regionals, seven straight 40-win seasons, and two consecutive super hosts.

Southern Miss baseball has also shattered attendance records in the last two seasons. Moving forward with Christian Ostrander with the reigns as head coach, Southern Miss baseball could not be in better shape.

As Berry took one final walk through the garden he had planted, the program moved one step closer to reaping his harvest.