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    Stroudsburg's Matt Suarez looks to 'make some noise' after foundational first year

    By Mason Smith, Pocono Record,


    The Pocono Record sat down with Matthew Suarez, who just complete his first season as head coach of the Stroudsburg High School varsity baseball team. The Mounties finished 10-9 with a trip to the 6A District 11 tournament.

    This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

    Talk about your first year as the head coach of Stroudsburg varsity baseball.

    It was challenging because I taught outside of the school district, and it didn't help that I only had one year as an assistant coach. Thankfully, I was able to get a teaching job at Stroudsburg for next school year.

    But another challenge that we talked about at the beginning of the season — we were very inexperienced. We weren't young in terms of age, but we only had a few returning varsity starters from last season. That said, overall, things went well for us. We were second in the EPC North Division. We lost some close games, along with some games that we should've won. But overall, we played very well.

    You were an assistant on last year's team that barely missed districts. Besides that one extra win, what do you think was the difference between missing it last year and making it this year?

    It has a lot to do with the kids. We put a ton of work in the offseason, and the kids took ownership of that. Once I was hired in October, we started having baseball workouts three days a week and lift the other two days. So we were at it pretty much five days a week from mid-October all the way to March. Our success is the testament to the players buying in.

    There's no need to reinvent the wheel, but what were some things from your time as an assistant that you wanted to improve as head coach?

    I've been a head coach at East Stroudsburg and Pen Argyl, so I had a basis of knowledge of where I want to be in my philosophy, and that's what I went back to. I'm a big believer in fundamentals, putting in the work and focusing and doing things with a purpose at practice, and that's what we did. I think that was what got us over the hump in a lot of games.

    More: Vote now for the Pocono Record Athletes of the Year

    What were some goals that you had, whether personally or team-wise? Did you accomplish those?

    One of the big goals I set out for myself for this year was establishing a culture for the program, and I definitely think we were successful in that aspect. Another big thing that I set out to accomplish, and I think we did a good job, was developing things for the future. We held a youth clinic this year where we had about 35-40 kids show up, which is phenomenal for a first-year youth clinic.

    I want to get more involvement from Little League all the way up to varsity; to have everyone running the same drills and teaching the same philosophies and expectations to all baseball players within the program. And I think we started that off on the right foot this year.

    Last question: What is the plan for Year 2 of Matt Suarez and Stroudsburg baseball?

    We definitely plan to build on our successes and improve in all of those areas we struggled in. So when we get back to school in August, we'll start right away. The kids got a ton of game reps this year, and the plan is to get as many game reps as we can in the fall. And also continue working those fundamentals and pick up right where we left off.

    We're looking to win the EPC North next season and go a lot further in the playoffs than we did this year.

    This article originally appeared on Pocono Record: Stroudsburg's Matt Suarez looks to 'make some noise' after foundational first year

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