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Balsano proud of Mon Yough team's effort

| Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009

Chuck Balsano is the manager of the Mon Yough 14-year-old All-Stars, who reached the Pony League World Series in Washington. His son, Chaz, is on the team.

Coaching youth sports makes most people feel young.

At least it does for Chuck Balsano.

But when you ask him how old he is, that's when it (an awareness) kicks in.

"That's a good question," said Balsano with a laugh. After thinking for a few seconds, he responded. "I'm 43. I'm getting old."

He reiterated that statement when asked about his high school days at Charleroi Area, where he played football and baseball before graduating in 1984.

"Now that really makes me feel old," he said.

Which gets back to his role as a youth coach.

Balsano is the manager of the Mon Yough 14-year-old All-Stars, who reached the Pony League World Series in Washington.

He guided a 13-member team that included eight of his own players from the Rostraver Township entry in the Mon Yough Pony League.

"We had a good team. We went 22-1," he said of his regular season squad.

As for his all-star team, he says he is not surprised that the team made it to Pony baseball's biggest stage.

"As coaches, we felt going into the (host tournament) that we were the best team," he said. "We told the kids that if they perform up to their capabilities, they would show they were the best team."

The Mon Yough squad did just that, winning four games by outscoring the opposition 33-9. That included a 9-1 win over Peters Township in the title game.

"It's a big accomplishment to get to the World Series, but I'm not surprised we got there."

Balsano said there is more to coaching young teens than just hitting and catching baseballs.

"It's a blast coaching this team," he said of the Mon Yough All-Stars. "Coaching 13- and 14-year-olds is a task at times. Sometimes we, as coaches, have to be psychologists to deal with the things that kids that age are thinking about.

"But in the end, all we do is try to get them to play their best. The kids play the game. They are the ones who win games."

Balsano said he began coaching youth baseball 10 years ago when his son, Chaz, was in Rostraver Township's T-ball program. Chaz is one of the players on the Mon Yough squad.

Balsano said he also coaches midget football for Rostraver Township. And while he says that at times it is easier to coach youth football than it is baseball, he can't pick a favorite.

"They both have their pros and cons, but I guess in the end I enjoy doing both," he said. "Both have been a lot of fun so far."

When he is not coaching sports, he works for 84 Lumber Co. in the purchasing department. He is a lead buyer and has been with 84 Lumber for 16 years.

He and his wife, Colleen, have been married 17 years.

The couple have a daughter, Madison, 11.

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