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Interview by Carl Frederick

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McCaskey Red Tornadoes Head Baseball Coach Gilbert Vega has begun his first year taking over a difficult task. He has succeeded former Head Coach Tyler Horst who resigned after last season to spend more time with his family. Coach Vega is in charge now after a moderately successful campaign with Horst at the helm. The first time Head Skipper stopped by with 717 to discuss his coaching background, his Mccaskey roots and what it will take for the Red Tornadoes to be successful this season.

Carl Frederick: Tell us more about your playing and coaching background?

Coach Vega: I’m a product of JP McCaskey HS in the Lancaster- Lebanon League where I played. After HS I went on to play Collegiately at DII Kutztown University in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. I graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Management. I spent some time playing in Puerto Rico after I graduated college and when I hurt my throwing shoulder I decided to focus on coaching from that point on.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Coaching staff at Susquehanna Township HS in 2016 when I started my coaching career. The ball club that year went on to the 3A state final and would finish the season as state runner ups. From there I joined the Coaching Staff at Penn State Harrisburg as a referral from an old teammate and would continue to Coach there through 2021.

CF: Describe the process of your plan to become the Head Coach at McCaskey?

Coach Vega: It was a position I’ve always wanted. My playing experience and coaching experience has given me an opportunity to educate the future ball players in the City of Lancaster and I couldn’t be any more grateful.

CF: You battled a potential state powerhouse in Governor Mifflin just last week, tell us what experience your squad gained from that?

Coach Vega: We have a mix of young players and seasoned veterans that are still getting acclimated playing with one another. We knew GM was going to be a tough matchup and we just couldn’t do enough early in the game to pull us ahead. I was very pleased with the way we fought back at the end and scrapped a few runs across the board. We’ll need to do more offensively if we’re going to compete in a talented LL League.

CF: McCaskey competes in one of the toughest leagues in the state, any players that stand out to you in particular?

Coach Vega: There is truly a wealth of talented ball players in the Lancaster Lebanon League. You can pick 2-3 guys from every team in each section that you’d want on your ball club. To name anyone in particular would be a disservice to anyone I wouldn’t be able to fit on a list.

CF: What are your expectations for the 2022 season with the Red Tornadoes?

Coach Vega: We’re going to compete. We are going to take some lumps but we’ll take every opportunity to get better every day and learn from our experiences along the way.

I believe we as a community need to get back to focusing on youth sports and encourage our young people to get involved. The future of the JP McCaskey baseball program is contingent on the development of our youth programs. Sports are just a foot in the door. The goal is to leave an impact greater than what’s had on the playing field. We’re going to do all we can to assist our community leaders in preparing our at-risk youth to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Coach Vega knows the challenges he is up against competing in a very competitive league but is determined to have success. They took on Cedar Crest looking for their first win of the young season. 

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