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Exclusive Interview: Boyertown Manager Rick Moatz - Pt 1

We're proud to present another exclusive interview to our loyal readers.  Coach Rick Moatz, manager of the Boyertown Bears, has been gracious enough to lend some of his time and insight about the game and his team.  Boyertown has amassed the most state championships in PA history, including winning four in a row between 2006 and 2009.  They will host the 2011 Mid-Atlantic National Regional Tournament this summer.


As always, please leave a comment or send us an email with any comments or questions you might have.  Thanks!


PA ALB


What was your take on the split of the Berks County League last year?  What affect did the departure of those teams have on your league, and regional play as a whole? 


Coach Moatz


The teams that left did so because they thought it was the best thing for their programs.  I'm not happy they left but I would do anything I felt was in the best interest of my program as well.  Our league became extremely competitive game in and game out.  The playoffs were a free-for-all. 


PA ALB


Much debate has taken place about the benefits of 9 inning play versus 7 inning play.  Berks County has reformatted league play this year, as each team will play every other in one full length game and a 7 inning double header.  What caused this change and how will it affect your team’s preparation for the postseason, if at all?


Coach Moatz


The format of the doubleheaders has nothing to do with a desire to go to 7 innings.  It has everything to do with being able to play more league games making it more relevant and giving the kids an opportunity to play more games.  It was the only way we could schedule more league games into the short season.  Our team will continue to play and schedule 9 inning non-league games because of the effect it has during the post-season.

 

PA ALB

Boyertown captured the state title four straight times from 2006 to 2009 and five of the last seven years.  As the winningest program in the history of the state, what makes the Bears a state title competitor year in and year out regardless of player turnover?


Coach Moatz


We concentrate on building knowledgeable, competitive players with a focus on continually improving our pitching staffs.  We build young pitchers and get them plenty of experience through the number of games we play and the opportunities they get in big post-season competition.  We stress execution through everything we do.


PA ALB


Do you have any advice for a program that aspires to be like Boyertown’s in the future?  How much of the effort to succeed takes place on the field, and how much takes place in the community?


Coach Moatz


I believe to have a truly successful program you need to develop an organization and run it like any other business.  You absolutely need assistance from volunteers and you need support from the community.  You also need to be engaged with your feeder systems. Our team has had a lot of support and help from the Boyertown Midget Baseball League, the Junior Legion teams and the High School teams.  My coaching staff and I spend a lot of hours and time working with the team and on team planning.  That's what a coaching staff needs to concentrate on.  The volunteers and members of your organization need to take care of all the other stuff or a coach won't last very long being a one man show. 


PA ALB


What kind of effect on your program and team does playing and practicing in Bear Stadium have?  Does hosting a postseason tournament with automatic berths change your preseason and season preparations?


Coach Moatz


Bear Stadium is a tremendous amateur facility and I thank my lucky stars that I have the opportuniy to coach there.  However, to be perfectly honest, it sometimes does not work in our favor.  It's like practicing on turf and then going to play on dirt.  You become a bit spoiled.  We take oppotunities at times to use other fields for some extra ground balls and practice on our JV field at times to prepare when going to tournaments at other places.   When we host a tournament, the approach taken in some of our play-off rounds or regionals does come into play.  It's not that we aren't playing to win, it's how or who we are playing with to win.  Example: if we're hosting the states we don't want to jeopardize our top pitchers with working on short rest just to win that tournament when we know were playing the following week.  You have to pick your goals to focus on.


We hope you've enjoyed reading part one, part two will be posted sometime soon!


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