Athlete of the Week: Chris Wastchak, Peters Township
Name: Chris Wastchak
School: Peters Township
Wastchak’s week: In five games – all wins – Wastchak hit .429 with five RBI, six runs scored, one double, one triple and a homer. His on-base percentage was .556, his slugging percentage .786.
As a pitcher, Wastchak racked up a pair of saves while allowing only one hit over 4 2/3 innings (18 batters), an .062 opponents batting average.
About the only thing Wastchak didn’t do was answer directly when asked which was more fun: hitting or pitching.
“It was a combination of both,” said Wastchak, a lefty who also has 28 putouts, one assist and no errors at first base. “I started off hitting well, which gave me a good mindset for pitching.”
Being a leader: Wastchak is the top returner on a team that lost five senior starters to graduation. He’s also the most experienced pitcher on Peters Township’s staff.
“We have a lot to improve on from last year,” Wastchak said. “As a senior, you have to set an example of what Peters Township baseball means.”
This year that’s hopefully making the playoffs, something the Indians missed out on last season for the first time since 2002.
By-committee approach: Because of the pitching staff’s situation – long on names, short on any with significant experience – Peters Township has elected to go with a by-committee approach, two innings here, two innings there, maybe three at the most.
While other players of Wastchak’s caliber might be piling up complete games, he’s just fine with the idea of everybody contributing.
“We’re all one team, and we’re all so good that everybody needs their own spot. “It’s going to help in the long run because we’ll have fresh at the end of the season.”
When he’s been called upon, Wastchak has been outstanding.
“When we’ve given him the ball, he’s a competitor,” Indians coach Joe Maize said. “He’s pretty intense.”
Date circled: Peters Township opens Section 5-AAAA play Monday at Mt. Lebanon. A rival sure, but the Blue Devils also ended Peters Township’s hopes of reaching the playoffs last year with a 7-6 win down the stretch.
Time for revenge? You bet.
“It’s definitely an exciting feeling knowing that our first game starts with our biggest rival, especially with what they did to us last year,” Wastchak said. “Definitely want to start on the right foot. Should be a positive game for us, we’re hoping.”
Array of pitches: Wastchak isn’t a soft-tossing lefty, but he isn’t exactly flirting with triple digits on the radar gun either; he relies mostly on control and an array of five pitches: a four-seam fastball, a two-seamer, a slider, a curveball and a changeup.
He’s the rare high school pitcher with five pitches. One problem, though.
“Still working on perfecting everything,” Wastchak said.
– Compiled by Jason Mackey