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Despite losses, Vogan wins another title

By Peter DiGiovanni

To lose 18 seniors from a high school baseball team would be a devastating event for most scholastic teams. That is precisely that faced Conestoga as they headed into the 2015 baseball season.

But through a ton of hard work, knowledge and commitment, the Pioneers overcame the massive graduation and rallied around each other to reach a plateau they had not reached since 2008.

To guide a particular group of young men to reach those exalted heights takes a special kind of leaders that knows when to push hard and when to pull back. A coach that not only impeccably knows the game inside and out, but knows people and how to treat them.

Conestoga rose to the top of the Central League, taking the league title in a very tough league and went to the quarterfinal round of the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs. It is for those feats that allowed John Vohan to be named the Daily Local Baseball All-Area Coach of the Year.

“We really got great leadership from three seniors — Tim Miller, Ryne Ogren and Brendon Little,” Vogan said. “They showed the younger guys what is expected at practice, in the gym and inn the field. They showed the kids how to prepare for games and how to act during the games. And the seniors who did not play last year also showed the underclassmen what the expectations are of Conestoga baseball.”

Conestoga had a little midseason slump, but rallied late to win the coveted Central League title and come within an  inning of making the PIAA Class AAAA tournament.

Vogan said that a lot of the credit for the Pioneers’ success goes to his long-time assistant, Jimmy Reynolds.

Reynolds is an intense baseball man that misses next to nothing on the field and is a great teacher of the game.

“If I get any credit for this season, then Jimmy deserves at least half of it,” Vogan said. “He is a great baseball man and he does so much for the kids. He is so dedicated to this program, any success we have, a lot of the credit goes to Jimmy and the job he does.”

Conestoga reached the 2014 state finals before losing to LaSalle, then the 18 seniors walked out the door,  but expectations were not lowered by Vogan, who has built a winning tradition that is respected by other coaches around District 1.

“John does a great job year after year no matter how many kids he loses,” North Penn coach Kevin Manero said. “He is a great coach and a great guy also. The kids love playing for him.”

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