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Datz earns more WPIAL honors

| Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Southmoreland baseball team struggled this season, but the team's year wasn't without its bright spots. One of the brightest was the performance of Shane Datz.

Datz, who also played quarterback on the football team this past season and made his fourth appearance at the PIAA wrestling tournament, is used to accolades, and he recently received a couple more. Datz was named to both the WPIAL All-Star roster and the Section 5-AA all-section team.

Southmoreland head baseball coach Brian Hyde said Datz has worked to earn both of those honors.

"Shane is probably the hardest worker I had on the team. I think this year, he showed a lot more composure on the mound than he had in previous years," he said, noting that some of Datz's added poise this season was due to a better defensive effort behind him. "His team improved, and he improved with them."

Hyde said Datz is also a leader on the field.

"He works hard, and being a senior, he's earned that (role) over the last couple of years," Hyde said.

Datz is the only Southmoreland player on the all-section list, where he made the cut as a pitcher. Hyde said Datz has a good fastball, but he performs best when he can successfully mix it up a little.

"There's no doubt his fastball is his best pitch, but the games he was most successful in were games where he could throw his curve ball for a strike," Hyde said.

Datz is part of the first-ever group of WPIAL all-stars selected.

"This is the first year for the whole thing," Hyde said, explaining that coaches nominated players but did not make the final selections.

Instead, all information was submitted to committee representatives. In Southmoreland's case, that was East Allegheny's Frank Szatkowski.

"We submitted all our information to him," Hyde said, explaining that the committee then had the final say on which players made the roster.

Datz was selected to the Class AA black team, which is being coached by Andy Bednar of Mars and Dave Oddi of Carlynton, along with Szatkowski.

The black team will take on the Class AA red team on Saturday, June 12, at Falconi Field in Washington.

Hyde said he doesn't think Datz's athletic honors will end with his high school career.

"I expect big things for him in the next couple of years," he said.

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