Perched on the top step of the dugout, Cedar Crest's outbound manager Chris Groff could only smile as chaos broke out in the field in front of him.
One after another, bodies converged at the pitcher's mound, stacking up to create a tower of flailing limbs. His Falcons had just won their second district title in the past three seasons. It was time celebrate.
And while that scene may have played out two weeks ago at York's Sovereign Bank Stadium - it's one moment Groff will cherish for a lifetime.
"In high school, 16-18 year old kids always like to be cool. They like to walk the walk and talk the talk," Groff said Saturday evening. "With the dog piles, they forget about everything. It allows baseball to make them act like little kids. It's something I've always enjoyed the most."
After a decade of calling the shots in South Lebanon, Groff will not be returning to the diamond next spring - at least as Crest's coach.
"They went so fast," said Groff, stepping down to spend time with his family. "Ten years ago I wasn't married. Ten years later I'm married with three children."
Two of his youngsters - ages 1, 5 and 7 - are embarking on their own baseball careers in the pony circuit.
"It's one of those things where it starts to get more time consuming," he said. "You only have one shot at seeing your children grow up, and I'm not going to miss it."
Not that the decision came easy.
"My love and passion for Cedar Crest is
Among his most vivid memories of the 10-year run - which also included a section and league title - was upsetting top-ranked Manheim Township in the first round of the 2007 district tournament.
In that game, Derrick Osteen fired 134 pitches as the 17th-seeds pulled off a 5-3 stunner over the Blue Streaks. Pitching would become a staple of the Falcons' success under Groff.
Groff filled some legendary cleats when he replaced Bill Dissinger in the spring of 2003.
Dissinger coached at Crest for 34 years, a quarter century as the head varsity coach. He racked up 10 section titles, four league crowns, a pair of district championships and finished as the state runner up in 1998. However, his most impressive accomplishment was that he posted just two losing seasons during his tenure.
With six straight district appearances, it appears Groff is leaving the program in the same shape he found it. He's also hoping his predecessor can continue the tradition.
"I have no idea who the new coach coming in is," he said. "Hopefully, he's fiery and energetic and can keep it heading in the right direction."
Groff credited a large part of his success to the student-athletes, parents and administration.
"It's been a quiet 10 years," he added. "We've had a string of really good players and supportive parents. Put that together with the coaching staff and athletic director John Shaffer, and I've been very fortunate."
Ironically, if not for Groff's basketball skills, or lack thereof, he may have never donned the blue and gray. A 1994 alum of Northern Lebanon, he broke his wrist on graduation night trying to slam dunk a basketball.
Originally recruited by West Chester to play shortstop, Groff entered his first Golden Rams' practice unable to swing a bat. To make matters worse, the coaching staff underwent a complete overhaul two weeks prior, leaving Groff in limbo if he would even have a roster spot. In an effort to stick around, Groff transformed himself into a pitcher, a position that engrained the value of fundamentals and defense.
"That moment really helped me into becoming a coach,' he explained.
After college graduation, he took a job as the JV coach for West Chester Henderson High School. From there, he served three years as an assistant JV coach at Crest before taking over.
Other notable memories Groff recalled include having three consecutive years of Falcon grads being selected in the MLB draft (Derek Kline in 2009, Kyle Redinger in 2010 and Derek Fisher in 2011).
He also mentioned seldom-used reliever Jose Garcia's clutch starting performance in the 2011 league title game and the determination of players like Ryan Cannistraci, Tyler Reed, Matt Walewski and Fisher during 2010's state run.
"And obviously this year, we came in with high expectations, and the kids flat out answered the bell," Groff said. "There were so many great kids who put in so much time. I could talk forever about our players."