"That makes you feel good when you know you've had a little bit of a part. A lot of them tell me, 'Coach, what we learned in softball, yelling and getting on them and making sure they do things the right way, teach them responsibility and showing up on time, paid off in life.'''
Garber said his wife, Clara, whom he has been married to for 22 years, is the reason he's still in the third-base coaching box. The two met when Garber was coaching Clara's son in fifth-grade basketball all-stars.
"She does without me a lot,'' said the SA coach. "She goes through a lot just to let me do what I love. She's been to a lot of games. She's special.''
Ali Haynes and Mariah Caudill probably know Garber better than anyone on the field. Haynes is his niece and pitcher the past four years for the Red Dragons, while Caudill has been the four-year starting catcher. Haynes and Caudill also played on little league teams that Garber led to a pair of state titles and the ASA World Series championship.
"He's passionate about the game,'' said Haynes, who has signed to play at West Virginia State. "He wakes up in the middle of the night, 'So and so didn't get that bunt down. So and so didn't run the bases right,' and tells us about it the next day. Sometimes we'll get halfway out the fence [after practice] and he'll say, 'Wait, wait, wait! Do you remember this play?' I learn something new every day.''
"He's a lot harder on us, but that's only gotten us better,'' added Caudill. "In the long run, it helps us. Some days I complain about it, but it's definitely fun. If I needed him, I could go to him any time. If I miss a popup [behind the plate] he [practices me] every day until I get it right. He never ends on failure.''
For Garber wins and losses aren't only measured in his high school program. After arriving back from the road trip to Clay on Thursday, the SA coach and several players were working with the St. Albans' little leaguers.
"We try to give back to the community,'' he said. "We'll have different clinics. Last year we had three free ones. We had 40 or 50 kids here from the community and my older ones working with them. Get them enthused about it, working hard and show them the correct way.
"It takes so much to do a program. I can't do it all by myself. I've got to have the players and I've got a lot of good helpers, whether it's dragging the field, running the pressbox, my boosters president and the community.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.