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Pennridge baseball enjoying first winning season since 2016


The Pennridge Rams walked off James Memorial Park with their heads slightly down as the scoreboard behind them read 10-5 in favor of Souderton last Thursday night.

Despite the loss, the Rams still boast a winning record, which is something worth celebrating.

Pennridge (9-6) has endured seven straight losing seasons, dating back to 2016 – its last playoff berth – when the team went 18-7. Last season was the worst of them; the Rams finished with a 2-18 record.

The losing skid called for change, so first-year head coach Danny Long was brought in to take the reigns, attempting to return the program to its winning roots. It couldn’t be a more perfect marriage: Long, a former player for Pennridge, was a member of the 2016 team.

Long on being able to coach for his former high school team: “It’s a privilege and an honor. I don’t take the term ‘coach’ lightly. It’s been a pleasure so far this year.”

Pennridge has already eclipsed the win total it had in each of the last seven seasons. With Long at the helm, the team has spun a complete 180. And, for the first time in a long time, the Rams are in the playoff hunt.

“We’ve had some ups and downs,” Long said. “But all you can ask for is to be right in the thick of things toward the end of the year.”

Now that the team is winning, the vibe has completely shifted. Instead of letting their past hang over their heads, they haven’t been deterred from motivating each other as they strive toward the common goal of returning to the playoffs.

“I think we’ve done a good job of, for a lack of better terms, having a chip on our shoulder,” Long said.

“The biggest thing that I can tell is a difference is we’re playing as a team,” said senior and four-year starter Matt Atchley. “Overall, we bond more as a team, we stick by each other’s sides more, and I think, with that, the team chemistry gets better and everyone wants to win.”

Atchley is one of the few seniors on the team. This season, the team has a good handful of underclassmen. In its game against Souderton, Pennridge rolled out a starting infield that consisted of two sophomores and one freshman.

Youth and inexperience would often be an issue for a team, but it’s not affecting the Rams.

“It’s a great group of guys,” Long said. “We are young, we do have some varsity experience, we had a lot of guys last year who played a lot of innings as freshmen (and) we have a freshman in our lineup every day. They’re holding their own. It’s pretty cool to see their growth from just a year, and I’m excited to see how they’ll grow the next two years.”

When Long first got his hands on the team, he stressed one word: together. In order for the Rams to return to winning, they have to play and stick together as a group.

“That’s a big word we’ve rallied around,” he said.

That word is something that Pennridge’s players have bought into.

“Everyone is working toward the same goal and everyone wants to be here,” Atchley said. “With that comes us being loud in the dugout and having enthusiasm, which, I think really makes a difference. This year it has made a difference.”

With just a few games left, the Rams, who were 19th in district rankings as of Wednesday, are pushing for a playoff spot. That’s evidently their goal. However, there’s more to it for Long.

As a former player, he knows that, while winning is the goal, the privilege to play for Pennridge should be underscored. Aside from returning the Rams to its winning roots, there is an additional goal of his.

“(To) instill pride in Pennridge baseball,” Long said. “Be prideful of this program, enjoy every minute of every game, every practice, every minute that goes into it … just enjoy. When your four years are over, just be proud of what you accomplished and what you were able to be a part of.”

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