Branford baseball players love their legendary legion coach, Rich Balzano

(WTNH)–Branford American Legion coach Rich Balzano is intense. But he’s also gentle, jovial and lighthearted. It’s a balancing act that the coach has used to take Post 83 to four American Legion World Series since 2005.

And if you’re not devoted to him every single day its going to show. Balzano owns his own marking and sales agency , but he still finds time to get down to the park and lead his team.

“Sometimes I have to go in earlier or make trips earlier in the day and get back, but it works for me. I try to do it. I enjoy it.”

Winning is everything for Balzano.

Will Coleman learned that a few years ago when coach told him to bunt and he opted not to.

“He sprints down the third base line staring through me and slams his helmet like 5 feet in front of me and goes, ‘What are you thinking?!’ And obviously, I had no iea what I was thinking.”

“I’m tough on them but I want them to be tough on themselves so that they deicate themselves to working as hard as they possibly can,” Balzano said.

Even though he can be tough, he’s left quite the impression on his players.

“He’s like a second dad a best friend a mentor and almost like a police officer at the same time he really tries to make sure that you do what you’re suppossed to be doing at all times.”

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