Bednar lights out on mound

May 26, 2018 Cranberry Local Sports

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WEXFORD — Will Bednar is soft spoken and polite.

He says, “Yes, sir,” and, “No, sir.” He gives off an aw-shucks kind of vibe when talking about his recent exploits as a junior pitcher on the Mars baseball team.

On the mound, though, Bednar is anything but affable.

He's downright nasty.

With a fastball that has lit up radar guns to the tune of 95 mph, and with an assortment of other pitches that he spots well, Bednar has been nearly unhittable in the last month for the Planets.

“I thought him and (Frank Craska) would be our 1 and 1A this year,” said Mars coach Andy Bednar. “He's really stepped it up these last three, four weeks.”

The improved weather has had a lot to do with that — not that Bednar was a slouch during the excessive chill of the early spring.

But as the temperatures have gone up, so has Will Bednar's velocity.

“It surprised me a little bit,” the right-hander said of the eye-popping numbers he's put up on radar guns of late. “I expected to be throwing pretty hard this year, but I didn't think I'd be throwing that hard.

“Strengthening my arm in the offseason helped,” he added, “and the warm weather has really helped.”

But Bednar, who has an 0.55 ERA and is striking out batters at a 16-per-nine-innings clip, doesn't only rely on his exceptional fastball.

He showcased an effective change-up in the WPIAL 5A semifinals Thursday against Hampton — a 4-0, five-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts.

He also peppered the strike zone with a new pitch he is perfecting this season — a cut fastball.

“It's something I've really been working on this year and it's really coming along well,” Will Bednar said. “Just figuring out a grip that works was the hardest thing.”

Will Bednar's brother, David Bednar, is in the San Diego Padres organization as a pitcher.

Will said he learned a lot from his older brother about handling the pressure of being one of the best pitchers in the WPIAL.

“I just try not to get too ahead of myself, try not to overthink it,” Will Bednar said. “I always try to stay humble.”

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