DOWNERS GROVE – Chris Pedrak had to bide his time, and in a way that made him the player he is.
A role player on a Downers Grove South baseball team that had three Division I pitchers – Zack Burdi (Louisville), Brian Glowicki (Minnesota) and Danny Mayer (Pacific) – last season, Pedrak found it hard to crack the pitching staff.
Now, the senior is one of the Mustangs’ top hurlers.
“I didn’t play as much as last year, and it motivated me,” Pedrak said. “I understand that we had a Division I pitching staff, but it motivated me because I wanted to help the team more.”
Not seeing time on the mound was especially tough since Pedrak has primarily been a pitcher throughout his high-school career. When he got his chance to be a key part of the rotation this spring, he took full advantage.
“He didn’t get a lot of time on the mound last year because we had a senior-dominated pitching staff. He had to work for his opportunity,” South head coach Darren Orel said. “He practiced and he worked hard and he built confidence in himself, and he’s been a great success for us.”
Orel described Pedrak as one of the nicest players he has ever coached. Maybe one of the most humble, too, as he spread out credit for his success this season.
“My coaches helped me, my teammates motivated me in the weight room and at practice at 5 a.m.,” Pedrak said. “I have to credit my family, too. They’ve motivated me ever since I started playing.”
Pedrak earned the starting nod Saturday against Hinsdale South and scattered four hits and an earned run over five innings of work. He ran his pitching record to 4-1 as the Mustangs defeated the Hornets 10-3, in the process improving to 13-4 overall and 11-0 in the West Suburban Gold conference.
“I think we were better offensively all around [Saturday] than we were [Friday],” Orel said.
Pedrak helped his own cause with a two-run home run Saturday. Danny Oriente also went deep as part of an 11-hit attack which also included Danny Spinuzza’s double.
The Mustangs won 5-0 in the first game of the series Friday behind Zac Taylor’s solo home run and a pair of RBIs from Oriente. The series finale was scheduled for Monday in Darien.
Pedrak by the numbers (through May 3)
.352 Batting average
2 Home runs
4-1 Pitching record
15 Strikeouts pitching