Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Section-Leading Mars Putting Up Impressive Stats

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Section-Leading Mars Putting Up Impressive Stats

Article excerpt

What's troubling for the Mars baseball team's Section 4-AA rivals? The defending section champion Planets have another talented roster and are leading the section standings.

What's downright scary for those other teams? The fact Mars doesn't even feel it has played up to its potential yet.

The Planets were 13-3 overall, had won 10 of their 11 section games they had played and carried a nine-game winning streak into a scheduled section game at East Allegheny Wednesday.

"I feel pretty good, but we still have some room for improvement," junior David Bednar said. "We should be able to do better the second half of the year."

"I think we're pretty happy with where we are right now," said Planets coach Brian Hobaugh, "being 10-1 in the section and in the lead. I guess if you look at it that way, it could be worse. But I still think we can hit better down throughout our lineup. We can be much better than we are right now."

Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that Mars sounds decidedly underwhelmed by its 11-3 record. After all, the Planets went 14-1 in the regular season last year.

Mars was winning last year due to an offense that averaged 10.3 runs per game in its victories. These Planets are more reliant on pitching. And few starters in the WPIAL have been as dominant on the mound as Bednar.

A right-hander in his first season as a regular starting pitcher on the varsity team. Bednar was 7-0 with a 0.64 ERA, .148 opponents batting average and 58 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched through Tuesday's games.

Bednar, son of former Planets head coach and current assistant Andy Bednar, has allowed only 23 hits and 14 walks in 44 innings for a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 0.84.

"He's a big kid, probably 6-1, 210," Hobaugh said. "He throws hard. He's really worked hard in the offseason on his whole body -- not just his arm, his whole body.

"He does band work and a lot of baseball-specific exercises. He's very disciplined about doing them. He's really strengthened himself to the point he's capable of going the distance every time out there. He throws a lot of pitches and throws a real good curveball in addition to throwing hard. …

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