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Exclusive Interview: Pennridge Manager Rocky Wright (Part 1)

Pennridge Post #255 from the Bux-Mont League in PA's Region 2 had their best season ever this summer.  The team won the Bux-Mont League Tournament, won the PA Region 2 title, and finished second at the PA State Tournament.  They traveled to Mattoon, Illinois this week for the Great Lakes Regional where they went 1-2 and were eliminated by eventual regional runner-up Terre Haute, Indiana.


Rocky Wright, Pennridge's manager, was gracious enough to do an extensive exclusive interview for the site.  There are ten questions in all, so we'll post it in two parts over the next couple days as we await the 2010 ALB World Series.


We greatly appreciate Rocky's insight and willingness to share his unique experiences with all of us. 


Interview Part 1:


PA ALB:


First of all, we here at the PA ALB Fan Site would like to congratulate you on an incredible run this postseason!  The team played very well and represented the Bux-Mont League, PA Region 2, and the state quite admirably.


Coach Wright:

First of all, thank you for your kind words concerning my Post #255 team. This was a very magical year for my team as well as all of the parents and all of our fans. Our Legion post was also very excited about our success and really got behind us as well. We had tremendous fan turnouts in West Lawn, Boyertown and believe it or not we had over 30 parents and fans make the 14 hour trek to Mattoon, Ill.!


PA ALB:

What was your outlook for the season back in the early summer? When did you start getting the feeling that you could make a run at the regional and state titles?


Coach Wright:

Early this summer I knew I had a very special group of players.  We had 24 try-out for our team and by rule we are only able to keep 18.  I had to release some very good talent but I was also able to keep "the cream of the crop".  Regional and state titles were not really in my mind.  Our goal from the start was to either win the league or the year end tournament or both.  Winning one or the other would assure us of a regional berth.  After winning our Bux-Mont Tournament I knew we could compete at the Regionals at West Lawn.  At that point we had attained a "refuse to lose" attitude and we were really pitching, fielding and hitting as well as we had all year.


PA ALB:

What were the keys to your team’s success?  Just great coaching?


Coach Wright:

Our success mainly came from playing as a unit.  Our pitching was very good, our defense got better and better, and our hitting at times was contagious!  At this level I don't believe that I coach as much as I manage.  My job is to identify who is playing well and go with the hot hand.  Our players come from 5 different high school programs and getting them to "gel" is also very important.  Getting everyone enough playing time also enters into it. You can only put nine on the field at a time.


PA ALB:

Your team lost to a great team in Spring City in the state tournament.  Was it tough for you and the team to get all the way to the title game and not win it?


Coach Wright:

Spring City is a very good team and they beat us fair and square.  Losing to them twice was hard to accept. We were really in the drivers seat having won the very emotional winners bracket finals game against Boyertown.  I think our team matched up very well with Spring City as well as Boyertown and all of the others that we faced at States.  Maybe we let all of our emotions get the better of us after the Boyertown game.


PA ALB:

What did you think about playing the state tournament in Boyertown’s Bear Stadium?  Is there any field out there than can compare?


Coach Wright:

Boyertown's Bear Stadium is almost like playing at a shrine.  There is an aura of history that envelopes the stadium especially if you happen to be playing against Boyertown.  A very wise coach told me that we had to get past the Boyertown mystique before taking the field against them.  I guess it worked for that game anyhow.


PA ALB:

How well did the team handle the nerves of the postseason, the crowds in Boyertown, the pressure of the state title game?


Coach Wright:

I don't think my team ever had a case of the nerves or butterflies. They seemed to never get to high and never get to low. I am not sure that could be said about their coaches however!


We hope you enjoyed the first part of the interview.  Please leave a comment for Rocky if you'd like, as he's a site member and frequents the site he'll be able to see them personally.  We'll post the second half of the interview in the next few days!



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