2022 Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Year: Bethel Park’s Evan Holewinski

Monday, June 27, 2022 | 8:38 PM

2022 Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Year

Evan Holewinski

School: Bethel Park

Class: Junior

Evan Holewinski likes to find video of MLB pitcher Max Scherzer and sync his throwing motion with that of the three-time Cy Young winner.

They’re both tall right-handers, each about 6-foot-3, with a knack for pitching deep into games and making batters impatient at the plate. If the Bethel Park junior has his way, the similarities won’t end there.

“I try to model my game mostly off of him,” said Holewinski, who emerged this spring as a top pitcher in the WPIAL. “In the winter, most of my mechanical adjustments relate to his. I do side-by-side videos and compare the two. Honestly, I think I pitch pretty similar to him, and I think my pitch repertoire is similar as well.”

Opponents saw Scherzer-like results this spring.

Holewinski went 10-0 with a 0.60 ERA, and he capped his season with a three-hit shutout in the state championship game to earn Bethel Park (21-4) a second consecutive PIAA Class 5A title. The Kent State commit was outstanding all season but certainly saved his best work for last.

In the PIAA playoffs, Holewinski pitched 14 consecutive shutout innings, blanking West Allegheny, 7-0, in the state quarterfinals and Selinsgrove, 5-0, in the state finals. There are no guarantees in high school baseball, but Holewinski seemed to be the exception in the postseason.

“We’re essentially undefeated when he starts,” Bethel Park coach Pat Zehnder said. “He’s such a stopper out there, such an ace.”

In all, Holewinski allowed only 29 hits and 11 walks in 58 innings. He struck out 57. He also contributed at the plate with a .417 batting average. His standout performance makes him the 2022 TribLive HSSN Baseball Player of the Year.

Holewinski dominated with subtlety, both in his calm demeanor and his pitching style.

“He could give up a grand slam and you’d never know,” Zehnder said. “His demeanor is so calm out there. He’s like a professor on the mound. He’s able to get guys to swing at his pitches. He’s selfless. He doesn’t need to get the big strikeout numbers.”

Holewinski hasn’t lost a start in two years.

He’s the second consecutive Bethel Park player to win the award, following then-senior Eric Chalus, who helped the Black Hawks win the state title last season.

“A lot of people say he’s not overpowering because he doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts, but he’s a guy that could strike everyone out if he wanted to,” Zehnder said. “He’s a pitcher. … If he’s working short at-bats and getting guys out in three pitches or less, we’re able to use him consistently and have him in the whole game.”

This is the second year in a row Bethel Park fell short of a WPIAL title, yet bounced back to win a state title. How?

I think it’s just the heart of the guys. Honestly, our coaching staff puts in a lot of work and teaches us how to want to win. We always say we hate losing more than we like winning. When you come out all the way on top it’s definitely awesome.

Not many teams have state championship routines. Besides winning, what is the best part of the trip to Penn State?

Just being with our guys. We all grew up together. We’ve all been best friends our whole lives. To be able to succeed together is the best part, but stopping at Jersey Mike’s every time and following the same routine, it definitely is fun.

What did you order?

I get a steak and cheese every time.

Did everyone order the same food as last year?

Yeah. Definitely.

Have you gone back and watched the championship game?

I’ve seen parts of it, but I think we’re going to do the same thing as last year. Our booster club got CDs of the game for us all to have. We’ll all have it for the rest of our lives to re-watch.

Do you routinely watch video of your outings?

Yeah, for sure.

What do you look for?

Definitely mechanics. We also have a bunch of photographers on our team, so it’s good to be able to get an action shot of when my foot’s landing or when I’m rotating, the minimal stuff that you don’t necessarily feel in game. Also I’ll go back and see where pitches ended up, see how hard balls were hit, in case you got the wrong glimpse of it in your head during the game.

What pitches do you throw?

I have a four-seam and a two-seam fastball, a curveball, a changeup and I newly added a slider. The first time I started throwing it was in the West Allegheny game in the state playoffs.

Are you someone who’s always tinkering with new pitches?

Always. I just started toying with a new splitter to see if I can add a change-up and a splitter into the mix. I’m also working to change the release point on my fastball to get the four-seam more traditional, straighter, and to give my two-seam extra run.

After winning a state title, how do you spend your summer?

Right now, I play with the Pittsburgh Stars. Tournaments every weekend. During the week, I have lifting on Tuesdays and Thursdays at a place called TELEO. A bunch of the guys from the team go there. The other days, I’ll go out and throw a little bit to make sure my arm is ready and loose.

Do you throw year round?

I take two weeks off after our final fall game and then I start to ramp it back up slowly. But I do throw pretty much all year round.

How long have you been a pitcher?

Whenever Little League started and we were allowed to start pitching, I was on the rubber.

What’s the best mound you’ve pitched on?

Penn State was up there. I’d say that was probably my favorite.

What’s your favorite around Western Pa?

Washington & Jefferson. The slope of it is perfect.

What led you to pick Kent State for college?

They have a really good pitching coach, a winning program and they have the programs for school that I like. I also talked a bunch with Eric (Chalus) and went up to see the campus. After putting all of that that into consideration, I figured that was a yes.

As a two-time state champion, what’s on the agenda for next season?

Definitely to get that WPIAL title. We’re still looking for that one. But the state championship is not out of sight. The three-peat is in our heads, no doubt.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things do you want with you?

Food and water is one. I’d say one friend and probably a glove for some catch.

• • • • •

Trib HSSN Postseason Awards

Baseball Head of the Class

Softball Head of the Class

Baseball Terrific 10 All-Stars

Softball Terrific 10 All-Stars

Baseball HSSN Player of the Year

Softball HSSN Player of the Year

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.


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