(Photo: Hopewell's Stefan Mrkonja, left, avoiding the tag of Mt. Lebanon's Jason Vater during a game earlier this season, played a big role in getting the Vikings back to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette.)
"Stefan Mrkonja can throw strikes. He knows it and so does his coach.
Mrkonja, a junior left-handed pitcher for the Hopewell High School baseball team, however, isn't concerned whether or not he's racking up punch-outs.
"I go out there and pitch strikes," Mrkonja said. "I'm not worried about strikeouts because I'm 100 percent confident in our defense.
"Whether it's me or any one of our pitchers out on the mound, we know the guys behind us are going to come through defensively for us."
Joe Rubino, who took over the Hopewell baseball program this season following the death of longtime coach Joe Colella, believes Mrkonja played a valuable role in the Vikings getting back in the WPIAL playoffs."