PALMYRA, Pa. (WHTM) — Palmyra baseball is starting to find their groove. They began the year a bit rocky, but rattled off three wins straight a week ago as they turn the corner to the second half of the season.

“I think right now we are seeing all the energy and all the potential our team can have. We knew it all along that our team had it. Yes we dropped the first three games but we knew all along that our team has talent. And we just have to go out and show it every time,” said Robbie Best, a senior first baseman for Palmyra.

It’s been a learning curve as they adjust to a new head coach. But their new skipper, Justin Hileman, knows this program better than anyone else.

Hileman is a Palmyra great. He led the Cougars to a state championship in 1999 and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 16th round of the 2000 MLB Draft.

“To hear what he’s done, when he came in here and they told us he used to be really big here for Palmyra so it’s really nice to have him as our coach,” said Bronson Coburn, a senior pitcher for the Cougars.

Hileman played nine seasons of professional baseball, but over time, the love for the game slowly faded.

“I took a big break from it when I was done playing. When I was done playing, I was done. I was fed up with the game, the grind took its toll on me and I stepped away for a while,” Hileman said.

He moved to New York City after his playing days, which ended with a stint with the Lancaster Barnstormers. But he made this way back to Palmyra and started doing some private baseball lessons. The coaching side of things brought his passion roaring back.

“Now that I’m getting back into it, especially at home were I was raised is really special and unique, but the simplest way to put it, I’m having a blast,” Hileman said.

But there was one eye-opening thing Hileman discovered about Palmyra baseball that shocked him when he came back home, their turf playing field.

“I remember when my dad and I were rolling the field and cutting the field ourselves and now we have beautiful turf facilities,” Hileman laughed. “Some things have changed but the atmosphere is still electric here and I love being back in Palmyra.”

The culture is still strong, but Hileman is working to instill a professional mindset into his team – training like a pro, competing like a pro, and bringing an increased intensity to practice that he knows will build the Cougars back up to their days of dominating District lll when he played.

But that foundation doesn’t get built overnight, that’s a long-term goal. In the meantime, Palmyra, who is 5-7 on the year, is looking to make a push down the stretch to make the postseason.

“Right now we are just trying to get to playoffs. I think it’s 13 wins. We got to get 13 wins under the belt. So that’s the goal right noe, just trying to win ball games,” Coburn said.

“I honestly believe that we have the pieces to get to the playoffs,” Best said. “But once we are in the playoffs our goal will be to win.”