Rocky Plassio is back coaching high school baseball in Washington County.
After spending three years as the coach at Baldwin High School, Plassio was hired to replace Joe Maize at Peters Township earlier this week.
Maize, who spent 35 seasons and accumulated 422 wins, retired in June.
“To come in and replace a legend won’t be an easy task by any means,” Plassio said of Maize. “Everything he did, not just winning baseball games, but the culture that was put in place speaks volumes about who he is. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. The tradition is in place.”
Peters Township won WPIAL championships in 2007 and 2008, made the PIAA finals in 2004 and 2005, won eight section titles and appeared in 17 district and 15 state tournaments under Maize.
This will not be the first time Plassio has followed what he calls “coaches who have been an institution.”
Plassio, who spent nine years as the Washington High School coach, followed Bob Peton, a member of the Washington-Greene Sports Hall of Fame.
During Peton’s 32 years at Washington, the Prexies made the WPIAL playoffs 24 times, won 18 section championships and a state title. He had 361 wins.
“You have to learn what you can from people like that,” Plassio said, “upholding the standards and traditions while bringing my own approach.”
In nine years at Washington, Plassio had an 87-65 record and won four section titles. The Prexies qualified for the playoffs seven times. At Baldwin, he went 22-28 and failed to advance the Highlanders to the playoffs in a difficult section, which featured Peters Township.
“With 12 years of head coaching experience, we are excited to have Rocky lead our baseball program,” said Peters Township athletic director Brian Geyer. “With Rocky’s knowledge of the game and his desire to bring out the best in our student-athletes, we feel he will be a good fit at Peters Township.”
Plassio believes his familiarity with the section will help with the transition.
“I think it helps a lot,” he said. “It’s better to have that experience with a section and its coaches, knowing how their teams like to play the game. Now, it’s about getting to know my players and their strengths.”
“To be honest, being around the high school baseball scene for the past 15 years or so, you are always aware of a program of (Peters Township’s) caliber. Peters Township has had a great caliber of players who have come through. It always produces good baseball teams. It’s a program that speaks for itself in terms of being in the upper echelon of WPIAL baseball.”