Gateway: Sports

Peninsula High School sophomore lefty pitcher Palagyi brimming with potential

jon.manley@thenewstribune.com

The Peninsula High School baseball team is as deep as it has been in some time, with talent all over the field for the Seahawks.

There may be no player brimming with more potential than sophomore left-handed pitcher Mason Palagyi, who throws a fastball in the mid 80s to along with a changeup and curveball.

“He’s a bulldog on the mound,” said Peninsula baseball coach Michael Johnson. “He’s a big lefty, throws hard. He has really good command. He has really dialed in his offspeed pitches, as well. He’s settled in as our No. 2 guy. He gives us some good diversity.”

Palagyi has a 5.53 earned run average in four appearances so far this season. While there’s some room to improve, Palagyi is working to put it all together.

“I still have a few kinks to work out on the mound,” he said. “Just some mechanics. Last year, I didn’t have that great of a year because of some issues with my legs. Just working on my velocity and my mechanics.”

Palagyi has focused on getting downhill on the mound, as opposed to falling off it. In the past, the lefty has been able to simply overpower his opponents, blowing the fastball by them. But he knows that isn’t the recipe for success at the high school varsity level.

“Last year, there was a lot to learn,” Johnson said. “He’s starting to learn how to pitch to contact a little more. He’s always been the big kid that can strike guys out. In this league, when you get to the varsity level, everybody can hit a fastball. Everybody. So he’s learned to keep those pitch counts down and pitch to contact.”

Palagyi’s curveball has come a long way as an out pitch, and he’s working on developing a slider. While he’s built like a linebacker, Palagyi actually spent the fall playing on the PHS water polo team.

“It’s really good leg work, and has slimmed me down, as well,” Palagyi said.

Johnson said he thinks water polo has improved the sophomore’s mobility on the mound and at first base.

“I think that’s really built a core strength in him that’s really just allowed him to move better on the mound and just really fire through his pitches, which is increasing his velocity,” Johnson said.

To Johnson, Palagyi has all the tools to be an elite high school pitcher. Now it’s about realizing that potential.

“If he can become a kid who pitches smart — what I mean by that, is not just being overpowering all the time, understanding when that’s necessary,” Johnson said. “I think once that mental part of the game comes and he fully believes in himself, that’s when it’s going to really click for him.”

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