NEW HANOVER >> Josh Hartline is familiar with Pioneer Athletic Conference baseball and its history of quality teams and equally talented players and coaches.
Now, he has officially been appointed as a new member of the head coaching fraternity in the PAC-10.
Hartline will take over as the Golden Panthers’ new head coach starting with the spring 2016 season.
Hartline is a 1992 Boyertown graduate who was a part of the Bears’ 1991 state championship team and the highly-successful Boyertown American Legion program. He first started coaching in the Boyertown Little League in the mid-1990s. He added time as an assistant coach with the Owen J. Roberts High School team from 2000-05. And in 2003-04, Hartline also coached the Boyertown Bear-Cubs in the Boyertown Junior American Legion baseball program during the spring and summer months.
“While I was at Owen J., we had a rebuilding type of program, and that is the program they have over there at PJP. PJP has that kind of opportunity. I will be teaching the game and fundamentals.”
Pope John Paul II is just two years removed from capturing the PIAA Class AA state championship. But the coaching staff and player personnel from that squad is all gone now. So that is why PJP is in the middle of a transition period in its baseball program.
“We will be a pretty much freshman- and sophomore-oriented team,” said Hartline. “We will be building those kids and getting those kids better.”
With his roots in Boyertown, Hartline will follow that tradition-rich philosophy of winning with pitching and defense. And offensively, he will follow the Bears’ lead of a sound bunting game, a small-ball type of approach with a lot of running and moving baserunners along as part of manufacturing runs in the PJP attack, just like Boyertown has done for years and years with precise execution.
“The PAC-10 has very good baseball,” said Hartline. “Every year some team is ranked in the state, no matter what class.”
He is entering a circuit that will expand to 12 teams in 2016-17 with the addition of current Suburban One League members Norristown and Upper Merion shifting over to the PAC-10. The PAC-10 will also go to two divisions, splitting the large number of 12 member schools into six-team divisions. At the same time, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has instituted expanded larger numbers of classifications for member schools that will vary from sport to sport.
“More classifications will help at certain times,” said Hartline. “I remember when I was at Owen J. Roberts, we were eight boys over the limit for one class and lost. If we would have been down a class, we probably would have won the state title. It’s a little more fair.”
Hartline is a Gilbertsville resident. He has always lived in the area and has remained quite familiar with the league, its coaches and players. Now, he will continue to that on a more expanded level.
“I am very familiar with the PAC-10, its players and coaches,” said Hartline. “I know the coaches, I know Jeff Endy at Pottstown, and Greg Gilbert at Owen J. Roberts is a good friend of mine. It is very good baseball with very good coaches.”
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