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Exclusive Interview: Millcreek Manager Tom Hansen

Millcreek, led by manager Tom Hansen, has enjoyed a great deal of success in Region 8 and state play in recent years.  In last year's state tournament, Millcreek started out strong by defeating eventual champion Spring City by a run on the first day.  After dropping a game to eventual runner-up Pennridge, the Region 8 champs defeated Upper Dauphin of Region 4 before bowing out with a season-ending loss to host Boyertown.


Tom has been gracious enough to do an exclusive interview with the site, here is part 1:



PA ALB

Since representing Region 8 at the state tournament several years ago, Millcreek has seemingly been unstoppable in northwest PA. What do you think has led to this great deal of success?


Coach Hansen

We have had some very good talent in the past few years. We have had several division one players, one of our players was drafted twice and this year signed with the Oakland A's and is in their farm system. We have a few division two players and a NCAC all conference outfielder and one of our players was a Junior College All American third team selection this year. Also, the program has been very consistent. We have 99% of our kids from McDowell High School where Coach Hayes and Coach Richards are great teachers of the fundamentals of the game.


PA ALB

Coming into the season, what type of expectations do you and your fellow coaches have for your team?  Is repeating as regional champions the goal coming into the year, or were expectations perhaps not as high?


Coach Hansen


We have the goal of getting back to the states again this year but obviously must take care of first things first. We have a stronger league in which a few teams have combined because of the economy.The region also looks to be stronger this year with teams returning many veteran players.


PA ALB

Has your team's recent success helped your team lure additional players from your area to the team?  In a time when AAU and other programs are taking legion players away from their teams, this would surely have added benefits.


Coach Hansen

We have always felt that the organization of the American Legion baseball provides the best competition for our players. It would therefore give them the best opportunity to improve their skills and hopefully play college baseball. We stress the significance of the competition and organization to help encourage our players to continue in the summer in trying to get better to compete at the next level by playing with our American Legion team.


PA ALB

How has your team and league adjusted to the new bat standards?  There has been quite a bit of confusion across the state with bats being ruled ineligible that players thought were legal.


Coach Hansen

The bat situation has its merits in terms of safety. We have tried to keep updated on those bats that are tested and found to be safe. We have removed those in question, but it is difficult to have a consistency with what is and is not acceptable. Hopefully next year will bring some relief for coaches, players, and especially umpires with the BBCOR labels. Some of the confusion has been the composites that are marked with BESR labelling. The intent is good and to keep baseball at its purest level of competion and safety is what I would feel is the message behind the restrictions.


PA ALB

What are your teams strengths and weaknesses?


Coach Hansen

We have a nucleus of six players who have played in the state championships either one or two years. We have lost our older College players and have a few talented but inexperienced younger players. We play a rigorous schedule and travel across the state and invite teams to play in our own tournaments to get the feel for the end of the year tournamnents for our league, region and eventually, the state tournament.


We hope you've enjoyed reading part 1, look for part 2 coming soon!  Feel free to leave a comment or question and we'll be sure to pass it along!


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