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Chat with Lawrence Raiders coach Troy Wingert

August 4, 2006

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

The Raiders' skipper helped make it four straight AAA American Legion state titles for Lawrence this week, ask him what he thinks of his team's chances when the Raiders head to South Dakota for the Central Plains Regional.

Moderator:

Hi and welcome to our chat today. I'm Andy Samuelson the online sports editor for KUsports.com and I will be today's chat moderator. Today we our joined by Troy Wingert, the head coach of the Lawrence Raiders. First off congratulations on your fourth-straight American Legion state title and thanks for chatting with our ljworld.com readers today.

Troy Wingert:

Thanks Andy: It's great to be here talking about the Lawrence Raiders.

Moderator:

Troy is this this first time that a Legion team has one four in a row.

Troy Wingert:

There have been a couple of teams that have one three straight, but yes we are the first team to take four in a row. It's pretty awesome.

Moderator:

Well fortunately for you guys that feat guarantees you another week of baseball. What's next up for the Raiders?

Troy Wingert:

We'll head to Aberdeen, S.D. bright and early Monday at 5 a.m. to take part in the Central Plains Regional where we take on the North Dakota champion next Thursday, Aug. 10 at 12:30 p.m.

Moderator:

Well let's get to some questions.

lcamike:

Congratulations on the State Championship! How do you compare this team to the previous Raiders teams that have won state championships? Who's throwing the first game in South Dakota?

Troy Wingert:

It's an amazing team, and it's cool for the kids to say the've been a part of four in a row. Plus as a first-year coach, they're making me look like I know what I'm doing. Just the other day I was talking with my dad, trying to compare this year's team to last year's squad (I was an assistant coach on that team). I think it's pretty much a push. There are some things that this club does better than that one did, and vice versa. Overall I think there have obviously been four very talented teams that have come through Lawrence the last four years and all have certain similiarities.

rscott:

First of all, Congrats on state! What will be your rotation entering the Central Plains Regional and have you heard anything about the competition?

Troy Wingert:

Our rotation is something I'll sit down and talk to our assistants about. Since it's a double elimination tourney, we might do things like we did at state with Scott Heitshusen starting followed by Travis Blankenship and Max Ellenbecker. You have to win the first game to get to the second and so forth. We also will have to wait and see who we are playing, because North Dakota is playing there state championships this weekend.

kulca980:

Troy -
Is this the most talented Raiders team ever, and what would you say is your teams forte (strength)?

KULCA980

Troy Wingert:

Like I said before, I think this team is very comprable to the other Lawrence squads. Our forte though has definitely been our hitting and pitching. Our offense kind of carried us at state last weekend. It seems like once we got a big hit, that really would spark us and get everyone going at the plate. But one thing I think we definitely have to improve on is our defense. We really have to take care of the ball this week in South Dakota.

Romary:

Coach- Congratulations on a great season. Just 6 years ago, you were celebrating a state title of your own. What's been the biggest transition from player to coach?

Troy Wingert:

Great question Kevin. I'd say the biggest transition is learning to see the game from a different perspective. As a player you can just play the game and react to what's happening. But as a coach you have to be thinking ahead at all times and kind of guess what possible things good happen and then be prepared for those situations. Plus you have to adapt to the teaching aspect as well.

sluggerr:

Troy: Is there one memory or highlight that standsout above the others this season. Good Luck.

Troy Wingert:

I wouldn't just pinpoint one. The talent-level we have here and the kids have been great, which makes my job as a first-year coach a lot easier. If I had to say a couple of memories that stand out above the others though, it would be winning the A.L. Ice tournament -- because a Lawrence team hadn't done that for about six or seven years. Also our tournament win in Bartlesville, Okla., was a big deal because a Lawrence team hadn't accomplished that feat since the late 1980s. Overall for me, just being around the kids every day has been the most memorable thing.

Moderator:

Well before we let you get out of here Troy, do you honestly think this could be the year the Raiders take the next step?

Troy Wingert:

I sure hope so. We have nine returning players from last year's Regional runner-up team, so experience is definitely on our side. And if you look at last year we were really inches away from forcing one more game on a ball that just went foul. Had that turned out differently we might have been talking about the first Lawrence team to make the World Series. But hopefully we'll accomplish that this year. But in order for us to do so we're going to have to keep up our pitching and our bats and really pick things up defensively.

Moderator:

Thanks Troy for stopping in today. Good Luck in South Dakota next week, hopefully we'll be talking to you again about your travel plans to the World Series. Also a big thanks to our ljworld.com readers for their help in this chat.

Troy Wingert:

Thanks a lot Andy, I really appreciate the coverage the Journal-World has given us for many years. I also would really like to give a special thanks to not only the Lawrence Raiders' fanbase, but to all those people in the community that support Lawrence American Legion baseball. It's been a great summer of baseball and hopefully we'll keep it going.

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