Mars pitcher Bednar, catcher Eperesi ready to forge college careers
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mars pitcher David Bednar and catcher Matt Eperesi formed one of the WPIAL's top baseball batteries the past two seasons.
Even though the two Planets standouts graduated this spring, they'll get to continue their baseball careers in college.
Bednar earned a scholarship to Lafayette College, and Eperesi is headed to Indiana (Pa.) in the fall.
He capped his career as arguably the best pitcher the program has ever produced.
Bednar finished his senior year with a 4-2 record. He had 66 strikeouts and walked 10 in 441⁄3 innings. He recorded a 0.95 earned-run average.
As a junior, he was 7-2 with 65 strikeouts and 17 walks in 511⁄3 innings. Overall, he finished with a 13-2 record and 145 strikeouts in 1011⁄3 innings pitched.
“He has been a heck of a pitcher for us for the last three years,” Mars coach Brian Hobaugh said. “He's been one of the better kids we've ever had here, in terms of pitching. He has worked very hard for that. He deserves a lot of the credit. He is very dedicated to doing a lot of the little things.
“His offseason conditioning and strengthening, he's very faithful with that. I think that's part of the difference for him. When the time came for the season to start, he was that much better in terms of his physical condition and muscular conditioning than a lot of the other people.”
Following a pair of section titles, the Planets hoped for more success this season. However, Hampton dethroned them for the Section 5-AAA championship.
Mars drew a tough Blackhawk squad in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.
The Cougars prevailed, 2-0, in a duel among two of the WPIAL's top pitchers in Bednar and Blackhawk's Brendan McKay.
McKay, a junior lefty, limited the Planets to one hit (Bednar's infield single), struck out 16 and walked just one.
Bednar, a righty, struck out the first six batters he faced and finished the game with 12.
He scattered five hits, walked three and allowed one earned run.
However, that wasn't Bednar's last high school game.
Along with Mars teammate Ben Erdahl, Bednar participated in the 10th annual WPIAL all-star doubleheader in early June.
Bednar pitched for the Class AAA all-stars and helped the squad defeat the Class AAAA all-stars, 10-9.
Bednar came on in relief and allowed one hit in 31⁄3 innings as Class AAA rallied for the win.
“That was a nice honor for him. It didn't surprise me how well he did, just because of the way he has worked, particularly the past three years. He had that maturity to work hard and be really diligent. It paid off for him,” Hobaugh said.
“He got a chance to go against some very good kids and proved he could pitch at a higher level.”
Bednar relies on his fastball and sweeping curve.
“He has two really good pitches. His fastball and curveball are very good. He hit 90 and 91 (on the radar gun) on at least five occasions against Blackhawk, which is what I was told. I think he's normally in the upper 80s,” Hobaugh said.
“He has a good curveball — just ask any kid who faces him. His curveball is more of a 12-to-6 break. Kids don't see that too often in high school. He had an outstanding career at Mars.”
Bednar hopes to continue his success at Lafayette, an NCAA Division-I school in Easton, Pa.
Eperesi will continue at IUP, which plays in the D-II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
“Matt was a good one for us, too,” Hobaugh said.
Eperesi started behind the plate for the Planets and was the team's No. 3 hitter the past two years.
His sophomore year, he split catching duties with Bednar and played third base when Bednar was catching.
“Matt is real good at blocking balls. He calls a good game. He has a real good arm,” Hobaugh said.
“If you look at the percentage of guys thrown out, that won't tell you how strong his arm is. He is pretty solid back there.”
Eperesi was second among Planets regulars with a .373 batting average. He had a team-best 25 hits, 22 RBIs and nine doubles.
He chipped in on the mound, too.
He pitched 172⁄3 innings and had a 2.77 ERA.
“He lettered three years for us, like David. Probably his best attribute was his hitting. He's just an excellent hitter,” Hobaugh said.
“He hit a lot of balls in the alleys, hit a lot of line drives and drove in a lot of runs. He likes to keep his hands inside the ball and hit it up the middle or the opposite way.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.