PREP BASEBALL

Psomadelis has matured into a key player for Portage baseball team

2013-04-18T19:00:00Z 2013-04-19T00:47:04Z Psomadelis has matured into a key player for Portage baseball teamJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
April 18, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

The light goes on for athletes in different ways at different points in their careers.

For Portage junior Peter Psomadelis, the moment came last March, when he was running 25 laps around the JV field for being late for practice.

"I remember walking down there," Portage coach Tim Pirowski said. "They were running and Pete, in particular, looked mad, that he didn't think he should be running.

"I didn't know if he was going to make it. I looked over at (assistant coaches) Bob Dixon and Bob Devine and said, 'He's going to quit.'"

Psomadelis didn't, and the talented player with a bit of an attitude issue hasn't caused a stir since.

"I knew that if this was something I was going to have to do, I might as well see if I can get something out of it," Psomadelis said. "It's all about responsibility. It's unacceptable to be even a minute late. (The coaches) were just trying to help prepare me for varsity.

"I was a little bit of a hothead when I was younger. I've had to work on that a lot. I have to control that anger and put it toward something else. I can't set a bad example to the younger kids who may look up to me."

Pirowski has seen good players fall by the wayside before because they can't handle criticism. He's pleased that Psomadelis' maturation process kept him from becoming part of that list.

"The hardest thing for kids nowadays is to not give a coach an excuse when they do something wrong," Pirowski said. "There are times when he may think he was right, but he's done a real good job of (saying) yes, coach, yes, sir.

"We had a talk at the beginning of the season about not blowing a gasket and do something stupid when you strike out, and he's been great with that."

Portage graduated some thunder from its lineup, a void that increased when Justin Newcomb was lost to knee surgery. All Psomadelis has done in his first 10 varsity games is hit .429 with 11 RBIs.

"It's been huge for him to step up and give us another lefty stick," Pirowski said. "The best part about him this year is he's real enthusiastic at practice and games. He's always ready to play.

"When we're inside lifting and running, he'll ask if he can hit a little, too. He always wants to do a little extra."

When Portage opened the season in Tennessee, Pirowski slotted Psomadelis in right field and fifth in batting order. The varsity newcomer was a little surprised, but took the vote of confidence and ran with it.

"That felt great," Psomadelis said. "I was in a big spot and I knew I had to step up and perform. I played in the summer (for Apex) and that really helped me going into the season. Justin was one of the best hitters on the team and someone had to step up and play his role.

"I had to focus more. I'm making the adjustments to varsity pitching, not trying to overpower the ball, just making contact and driving it."

Portage stands 8-2 and Psomadelis' growth as a player and person is a big reason why.

"I thought it would take some more time (for me)," he said. "Our bench is filled with good players. I just knew that if I kept working, I'd be on varsity, and it's really worked out."

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