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Exclusive Interview: Millcreek Manager Tom Hansen Part 2

Interview Part 2:


Where does your team's final day rally to win two games over St. Mary's in the Region 8 final last year rank in terms of your coaching accomplishments?

Coach Hansen

It is always a thrill to win the region tournament. Last year was no exception. The Region 8 tournament at St. Mary's was unique. Anyone who was there or heard about it would have to agree. The final game with the rain delays, the fog, the conclusion with the two teams on the infield and congratulating each other gave the fans and even the players a good look at what the nature of this competition can become. The host team and the directors of the tournament were exceptionally gracious and the final gesture of the players from St. Mary's giving out the tournament medals was a real class act.


What has it been like to play on fields like Owls Field in West Lawn and Bear Stadium in Boyertown in front of large crowds?  How do the fields in your area stack up?

Coach Hansen

The sites where we have played are a testament to a community who cares about providing the teams with the best facilities for this type of competition. The venues have been comparable to the Double A park where the Erie Seawolves play. It really adds a lot of class to the tournament when the games are played on such first rate facilities.


Your team defeated eventual champion Spring City 7-6 on day one of the tournament last year.  How's it feel, looking back, knowing you were the only team to knock them off?

Coach Hansen

It gave us a great remembrance for that tournament after the championship was decided. We had played Spring City a few years before on the opening night of the state tournament at their facility. After they won everything last year, we could look back and take away a measure of succes from our participation in the tournament. In this way it was both a proud and somewhat humbling memory. The Red Sox had a great team and a great organization as one can see from their programs success last year and in their past. Jamie was gracious coach and also a tenacious competitor as can been attested to in comong all the way back from the first game loss to capture the title. We were very fortunate to have a game ending double play with the potential tying run on second. Those are the experiences that make the American Legion State tournament a thrill for the players and coaches.


What does your team need to do in order to return to states this year and continue the success the program has experienced?

Coach Hansen

In order to return this year we cannot look too far ahead. That may sound absurd, but we have to play our best every next game we play. We do have a target on our shirts and that is the nature of healthy competition. It brings out the best in the players. What I have seen in the past 4 or 5 years is that pitching is what makes teams strong in tournament play. We need to get our younger pitchers to give us quality innings and the older players need to be encouraging and demanding in order for us to be successful. It always helps to have a little luck on your side too.


Have any favorite stories from coaching Millcreek you'd like to share?

Coach Hansen

I think the St. Mary's region 8 final game experience was one that would be hard to duplicate. We had rain delays, and a heavy fog that rolled in at about the 7th or 8th inning. I told the third baseman to check if we still had our left fielder because I could not see him from the dugout. Our third baseman took me literally and ran out to left field to make sure the fielder was there. A fly ball was hit to the centerfilder in the next inning and the second base umpire ran out to follow the play. The home plate umpire said no catch. When the second base umpire reappeared, he corrected the home plate umpire and awarded the out. Noone could dispute the second base umpire. The next inning was similar and a pop up was hit behind first base in shallow right field. Our first baseman went out to catch the ball and by this time the general safety of the players became the guiding issue. The game directors recognized this and called the game complete at that time. The score was lopsided and to continue was deemed a potential for harm. The players from both teams gatthered in the infield and debated the miraculous catch in centerfield as the officials determined the outcome. It was then that the class of the tournamnet was witnessed by all those who remained. The St. Mary's players awarded our team the region 8 medals for the championship and congaratualted each player individually.

We hope you've enjoyed the interview and would like to thank Coach Hansen again for his time and in-depth responses!

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