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Baseball: Playoffs starting to align for Mars

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

Entering this week trailing Knoch by one game in Section 5-AAA, the Mars Area varsity baseball team was inching closer to securing a berth into the WPIAL playoffs.

The Fighting Planets (8-5, 6-2), who are traditionally regular contenders, picked up three key section victories last week. They started with a 6-1 win over Valley before shutting out Hampton, 4-0, and completed the week with a 17-12 slugfest against Hampton.

Senior pitcher Ryan Leshinsky and senior catcher Jake Swiatek both hit long balls against Deer Lakes. The Planets also have seen some steady offensive production from senior Luke Rouda, senior Matt Derouin, junior Zarek Simkovich and senior infielder Ty Reginelli, who is a Wofford recruit.

Mars will wrap up its section schedule this week against Valley, Freeport, Highlands and Knoch.

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Softball: North Feature Athlete - Niki Schlegel, Mars

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Niki Schlegel
School: Mars
Grade: 11
Sport: Softball
Position: Pitcher

Background: Mars welcomed back its pitcher this season, junior Niki Schlegel. Schlegel is 4-3 through her first seven decisions. The Planets have ridden Schlegel's arm to a 6-1 record in the section, good enough for second place.

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Softball: Mars vaults to second place in section

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Mars has reeled off three consecutive section wins to vault into second place with only three section games remaining. The Planets started section play with dominating performances against Oakland Catholic and Indiana, outscoring the two teams by a combined 29-0. Mars also went on the road and won 9-1 at Highlands. It had a hiccup in a 7-3 loss to Hampton but six days later Mars avenged the loss with an 11-5 victory at Hampton. In that same week Mars blasted Indiana 14-4 and edged Knoch 7-6 to solidify its spot as second place with a 6-1 record behind only Hampton (8-2, 7-1).

"I am excited to see what these girls will accomplish," coach Michele Goodworth said. "They want to build on last year's success. It is a good motivated group of girls. I just think they are ready to play. I am looking forward to seeing what they are capable of accomplishing."

Mars reached the WPIAL Class AAA final last season as a No. 13 seed. Three senior starters graduated from that team but the incoming freshmen class has produced four new starters, center fielder Maggie Olshenske, right fielder Jordyn Douglas, shortstop Isabella Berkopec and third baseman/pitcher Lindy Lee.

"It was really an exciting run because it was unexpected," Goodworth said. "We knew that the team was talented at the time but I don't know if we realized how much they could accomplish. We just kept building on each win and it was very exciting. It was a long time in coming to reach that competition again."

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Softball: Mars out to repeat 2014 drive

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Mars softball team.

"The Mars Area softball team is seeing a silver lining to all those clouds in the sky this year.

Weather forced Mars to postpone six of its first eight games. The team did not get to practice on its home field until this past Sunday.

It is a little bit of déjà vu from last season.

There were seven postponements last season. The Planets closed their regular season by playing five games in five days."

 

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Boys Tennis: North Feature Athlete – Mars' Aaron Gruber

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

 

Name: Aaron Gruber
School: Mars
Grade: 11
Sport: Boys Tennis

Background: Gruber is Mars’ No. 2 singles player and he teamed with the Planets’ top singles player, Josh Raymundo, to win the WPIAL Class AAA doubles title this week. The Mars’ duo got revenge over North Allegheny’s Richard Hoffman and Jared Isaacs, who beat them last week in the section final. Gruber and Raymundo will advance to the PIAA doubles tournament. The duo played in the Class AA state tournament in 2013, advancing to the PIAA quarterfinals.