Coach of the Year: Russ Kovach, C. Milton Wright
(HANDOUT)

Russ Kovach likens coaching to playing chess.

"It's all about putting the pieces in the best position to win," he said.

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The C. Milton Wright softball coach had to work a little harder at that than usual this season, having lost seven starters from his 2015 state runner-up team to graduation. He integrated four freshmen and two sophomores into his starting lineup and the new-look Mustangs checkmated many of the best teams in the metro area.

C. Milton Wright finished 17-6 with wins over end-of-year No. 1 Archbishop Spalding, No. 2 Eastern Tech, No. 3 Westminster and No. 7 Lansdowne en route to the Class 3A North Region championship.

Kovach conceded that from the first day of practice he and his staff were more focused than ever on fundamentals. But that's what made the season so rewarding. He delighted in watching young players become "dramatically different from the beginning of the year to the end."

Kovach, a science teacher at the school who has a 153-54 record in nine years as head coach, says he is fortunate to have a great feeder system with a number of students who play travel softball ready to help replenish the program each year.

And Kovach is quick to point out that coaching wasn't the only reason for the team's success.

"The biggest thing is we had Morghan Fulton," he said, referring to his All-Metro first-team selection who had a 1.13 ERA.

Kovach focused on all the team accomplished, losing just once to a metro area team, knocking off numerous powerhouses, and rolling through four regional playoff games by a 31-2 margin.

"Absolutely," he said. "What a season."

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