Roger Czerwinski didn't plan on being West York's head baseball coach in 2009.
Czerwinski was the school's athletic director at the time and wasn't looking to add to his list of duties.
However, when the baseball coach was forced to step down because of a work commitment three days after tryouts started, the Bulldogs needed a new coach -- in a hurry.
It would have to be someone with the proper clearances, and preferably, someone who had experience working with young players.
Czerwinski fit the profile.
A former head coach at two Baltimore high schools, Boys' Latin High School and Archbishop Curley, he decided to resume his coaching career by taking over the Bulldogs' program.
"Our superintendent and principal had faith in me, and I appreciated their support," Czerwinski said. "I've been blessed with tremendous kids, and I have a good staff. Coach (Ron) Stare and Bubba Krout stuck with me when I started, and we've added Coach (Blake) Gladfelter, Coach (Greg) Kinneman and Coach (Chad) Farmer and his son (Shayne)."
After finishing just 9-10 the first season, Czerwinski's teams have put together three straight winning seasons, including two outstanding ones.
West York went 19-5 in 2010 and qualified for the state tournament for the first time.
The Bulldogs outdid that performance this year. They are 23-4 and preparing to play for the Class AAA state title on Friday at Penn State.
Czerwinski, for the most part, is a low-key coach who encourages his players. Mental errors, however, will raise his ire.
The former Pompano Beach (Fla.) resident also has a tremendous attention to detail.
"Our practice is planned every day," West York senior pitcher Kaden Hepler said. "Everything we're going to do is on the sheet."
Czerwinski has been working with Hepler and some of the other players since they were 13.
"My dad (Wayne) coached the team, and my dad liked Coach Z and asked if he wanted to help us. I think he (Czerwinski) is a great coach," Hepler said.
Czerwinski didn't discourage his players when they set the bar extremely high at the beginning of the season by declaring that they wanted to win a state championship.
That goal is within reach.
Czerwinski has another goal: a long-term one.
"My goal is to build a program, not be a team that's one year and out (of contention)," said Czerwinski, who played NCAA Division I college baseball at Florida Atlantic University. "We have some huge holes to fill for next year, but, potentially, we could have eight starters back."
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org.