Tournaments : : Story
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6-4-3 Experiences Growth, Success

Matthew Stokes        
Photo: 6-4-3 Baseball Academy

MARIETTA, Ga. – Danny Pralgo made a tough decision after serving as head coach of the 16u East Cobb Cougars in the summer of 2007.

It was time to just step out of the box and do what I love doing under a different name,” said the 6-4-3 DP Athletics founder and president. “I was a middle infielder, and I always said that if I was ever going to start something up it would be the 6-4-3 DP Baseball Academy.”

Pralgo made the move to start his own organization after 12 years at East Cobb Baseball.

A four-year letterman at Lassiter High School in Marietta from 1985-1988, Pralgo continued playing at Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga., from 1989-1992. He then went straight to the coaching ranks at North Florida Junior College in 1993. Soon he found himself back in Cobb County, coaching youth baseball. Those years at East Cobb Baseball helped paved the way for him to start fresh.

What’s funny is we truly started it up from the teaching and training of things because we just loved working student-athletes,” explained Pralgo as he sat in his office at Aviation Sports Complex. “Then we did camps, clinics and lessons, and people came to us and said, ‘Why don’t you do teams?’ What we found out pretty quickly was that this area is such a heavily populated baseball area that they were looking for another option from the team side of it.

So it was really the baseball community wanting another option. Luckily for us, people believed in what we were about and wanted to be coached by us.”

Starting in the fall of 2007, Pralgo and his staff began the 6-4-3 DP Baseball Academy with 9u and 16u teams. Pralgo pointed out that this first team ended up finishing second in the 2008 16u CABA World Series.

From there 6-4-3 expanded to four teams, 10 teams and 16 teams.

We’re growing at a very exciting, fun but controllable pace,” Pralgo said. “We’re not trying to get too big too fast. We want to keep it special, where each team has great coaches who are better people than they are coaches. We’re real picky about we let in to coach. They’ve got to be the type of people who we want our kids and families to be led by.”

The process of gaining its own facilities took time, effort and constant communication with the City of Marietta. This all began in 2009.

Behind the scenes, we were talking with the city and going after the property for about two years,” Pralgo said. “Fortunately for us, they saw how well we had been doing as a floating academy—not even having a home. They were really excited about how we could revitalize this area. Mayor Steve Tumlin and Rich Buss, the Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities, really believed in what 6-4-3 DP was about from a player development and student-athlete standpoint."

By March 2011, 6-4-3 DP Athletics had successfully made it through that process and construction had been completed on Aviation Sports Complex, located on Aviation Road nearby Southern Polytechnic State University.

A number of Pralgo’s former players from over the years have jumped at the opportunity to return to help him continue teaching baseball, a trend he likes.

It’s a family here,” Pralgo said. “I think what makes us a little bit different maybe from some other organizations is that we are truly a 6-4-3 DP family. As soon as a kid or a parent becomes a part of our organization, they know that they are a part of something different. It’s not just about baseball, but it’s about the game of life. It’s about teaching these players how to carry yourself on and off the field, and how to represent your teammates, coaches and parents in the right way.”

6-4-3 DP Athletics CFO Jay Andrews credited Pralgo with leading the entire organization.

I’ll be honest: it’s about him a lot,” Andrews said, “because he genuinely cares about the kids and the families in the program. And it shows in everybody he touches. He teaches all of us how to genuinely care about the people in the program.”

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