Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hempfield Deals Foes an Ace Martinelli Matures as Spartans' Top Pitcher High School Baseball: Wpial Playoffs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hempfield Deals Foes an Ace Martinelli Matures as Spartans' Top Pitcher High School Baseball: Wpial Playoffs

Article excerpt

There was a time when Zack Martinelli struggled to keep his cool.

A senior pitcher for the Hempfield Area High School baseball team, Martinelli has learned to control his emotions from the pitcher's mound.

"When I was younger, I put too much pressure on myself and when I struggled on the mound, I'd lose it," said Martinelli, who lives in Hempfield Township. "My mechanics would go south. I would overthrow and begin to miss the strike zone. I would take myself completely out of games.

"But as I matured and got older, I realized I couldn't do that because I was only hurting myself and my team."

Martinelli, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander, has been a stable and reliable ace pitcher for the Spartans (19-4) all season.

"Zack has done a great job for us," Hempfield coach Tim Buzzard said. "We expected him to be a dominant pitcher for us and has done a great job since his first start this year.

"He seems to be getting stronger as the years gone on."

Despite suffering a 3-0 loss to North Allegheny during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals, Hempfield moved on to the third-place consolation game against Pine-Richland (17-5), which was played Wednesday night at Washington & Jefferson College Field, part of the Consol Energy Field complex. The winner of the consolation game earned a berth into the PIAA playoffs.

"We've had an awesome season," said Martinelli, who is a Seton Hill University recruit. "We definitely deserved to win the games we've won. Our pitching and defense has definitely been the strength of the team. We've worked well together and always picked each other up.

"We just couldn't get the clutch hits we needed against North Allegheny. They were able to get those types of hits."

Martinelli started against the second-seeded Tigers and surrendered one run off five hits -- all singles -- in five innings. …

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