The Daily Star
---- — STAFF REPORT
Recent Oneonta High graduate Chris Pindar continued his climb up the all-state baseball list in 2013.
Pindar, a center fielder, earned First Team status on the all-state team, which was released Thursday by the New York State Sports Writers Association. It marks the third straight season Pindar has been an all-state selection.
“We haven’t had anybody who’s been all-state for three years in a row,” Oneonta High coach Joe Hughes said of Pindar. “He’s deserving of it. He’s one of the best players in the history of OHS baseball and we’ve had some good players. His future is very bright. He has all the tools to succeed in college and he’s been a big part of the success we’ve had the last three seasons.”
Last season, while helping the Yellowjackets to their first state championship in baseball, Pindar was a Second Team selection. As a sophomore, he was a Fourth Team pick.
Pindar led eight area selections on the all-state team.
Also recognized from the area were Class C selections Austin Bauerle of Bainbridge-Guilford (Second Team), Damian Zimmer of Sidney (Second Team), Quinn Barnhart of Unatego (Third Team), Billy Kozak of Sidney (Fourth Team), Ethan Bliss of Cooperstown (Fifth Team) and Kellen Komenda of Unatego (Sixth Team). Edmeston’s Mike Clark made the Fourth Team in Class D.
Pindar broke OHS’ single-season record for home runs this spring. He finished with seven – three coming in his final game, a 6-4 loss to Waverly in the Section Four Class B final. Oneonta’s previous record of six was set by 1986 graduate Clay Bellinger, who went to play for the New York Yankees and the Anaheim Angels.
Pindar hit .412 for the Yellowjackets, who finished 14-7.
Pindar, playing for the Oneonta Outlaws – a team managed by Hughes – of the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer, said the key to his success was relaxation.
“Going into your senior year, it’s borderline not caring,” said Pindar, who’ll play for Oneonta State in the spring of 2014. “That’s how relaxed you are. You have to be relaxed as you possibly can be and you can’t think about anything. You just have to be up there with a clear mind and hit the ball. You can’t be nervous or jacked up. You have to be relaxed.”
Hughes said Pindar’s quick hands keyed his success.
“He has very good hands,” he said. “His hands are quick and strong. He can wait on the ball, which allows you to see the ball longer. He can wait and get his hands through the hitting zone.”
Hughes added that Pindar’s instincts and speed in center field denied opposing hitters many extra-base hits over the last three seasons.
“He ran down so many balls,” Hughes said. “A lot of people probably thought they were doubles and triples. He has God-given talent and God-given speed, and he reacts well to a batted ball.”
Bauerle, a senior, was named the MVP of the Midstate Athletic Conference. He won seven league games, with a 1.00 ERA and struck out 52 over 39 innings.
He was even better during sectionals for the Bobcats.
Bauerle struck out 15 in a one-hitter as B-G defeated Spencer-Van Etten, 2-1, in a Class C first-round game. Two days later, Bauerle limited eventual Class C state champion Seton Catholic Central to four hits, a game the Bobcats lost, 2-0, to end their season at 14-4.
Senior Zimmer, who played first base and center field, hit .563 for the Warriors. He scored 20 runs, drove in 17 and struck out just three times.
Barnhart, a senior, was a Third Team all-state selection for the second straight season. A pitcher/first baseman, Barnhart went 6-0 on the mound with a 2.25 ERA and threw his second varsity no-hitter. At the plate, he batted .368 with three home runs, 25 RBIs and 19 runs for the MAC champion Spartans.
A junior shortstop, Kozak batted .507 with 38 runs and 17 RBIs in helping Sidney to a 14-7 season. He also hit eight doubles, walked 14 times and struck out three times.
Bliss, a senior, hit .422 with seven doubles and 17 RBIs to help Cooperstown to a 9-7 season. He also went 5-3 with 1.05 ERA with 47 strikeouts over 461/3 innings.
Clark, a junior, batted .385 with 23 RBIs and had a .523 on-base percentage. On the mound, Clark went 6-2 with 80 strikeouts.