After coaching Mercy Academy to its first state championship in fastpitch softball last year, Josh Bloomer left the school and took over as head coach at Male.
Last week he led the Lady Bulldogs to their first regional fastpitch title. No. 20-ranked Male (25-13) will face No. 4 Scott County at 6 p.m. EDT Thursday in the first round of the Rawlings/KHSAA State Tournament at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro. Bloomer recently discussed a variety of topics with The Courier-Journal’s Jason Frakes.
You told your team you believed they could win the Seventh Region title this year. What was the biggest obstacle?
When I first came in and got around the kids, I felt like we had a really talented, athletic group of kids. But I didn’t think they necessarily knew how to play softball yet. They just went out there and played and didn’t know the little things that were going to get them better. For me it was just changing the way they thought about the game, changing the intensity and the focus and the expectations.
Is the satisfaction different for you now than when you were at Mercy and expected to win it?
It was. The girls wanted to believe they could do it, but having never done it they really didn’t know. … I have a really great group of seniors, and it’s tough when you get a new coach your senior year and you have to learn all this stuff. They’ve been really great.
There’s a perception that you can’t coach public-school kids the same way you coach private-school kids. Did you run into that?
There are always going to be differences in what the administration and the athletic department will and won’t tolerate. I haven’t had to coach with any less intensity, with any less demands, with any less pressure this year than I did at Mercy. … John Kelsey has been a great athletic director for me. The administration has been great. You can’t practice on Sunday (in Jefferson County Public Schools), so that changes some things,but that’s about it.
What do you think about Mercy’s success this year?
I think (new coach Greg Vorbrink) has done a really good job over there. He came into a very tough situation, and he’s done a good job of keeping that thing going and giving themselves a good shot to win another state championship. I’m happy for those girls over there.