By STEVE KRAH
Adam Bednarek is taking lessons he learned in high school, college and on the travel ball circuit and applying them in his first season as head baseball coach at Hammond (Ind.) Morton High School.
Bednarek was hired to head the Governors program at the end of the summer of 2022 and began his first year of teaching (U.S. History) and Morton in the fall.
Morton (enrollment around 1,675) is a member of the Great Lakes Athletic Conference (with East Chicago Central, Gary West Side and Hammond Central).
The Governors are part of an IHSAA Class 4A sectional grouping in 2023 with East Chicago Central, Gary West Side, Hammond Central, Hobart, Lake Central, Merrillville and Munster. Morton has won 10 sectional titles — the last in 2015.
Born in Illinois and raised in Dyer, Ind., Bednarek went to Andrean High School in nearby Merrillville, and played for Indiana High School Baseball Association Hall of Famer Dave Pishkur, who has eight state titles and more than 1,000 victories to his credit.
Bednarek was in the program from 2014 to 2017. He was rostered as a sophomore but did not dress for the 2015 IHSAA Class 3A State Finals. He was a second baseman on the varsity in 2016 and moved to third base in 2017 after tearing a meniscus.
What does Bednarek, who wore No. 16 in Red and Gold, remember most about time spent with the veteran 59ers skipper?
“Coach Pishkur is unbelievable at teaching all sorts of baserunning things — especially stealing third base,” says Bednarek. “I became a much better baserunner during my time at Andrean.”
Three of Bednarek’s four Morton assistants — Danny Murray, Eric Mularski and Sawyer Allen — played with him in high school. Only longtime Governors assistant and Babe Ruth League coach Vern Jefferson did not.
Bednarek and company led Morton players who were able to attend fall IHSAA Limited Contact Period sessions with an emphasis on fundamentals and defensive situations.
A drill he learned from Pishkur — The Runs Game — was part of the twice-a-week workouts.
It’s essentially living batting practice on the clock. The offensive team might get 10 minutes to score as many runs in that time.
The catch is there are four live balls and the hitting team has to track down the foul balls and get them back into the game before the next pitch can be thrown.
“We create fun chaos,” says Bednarek. “It’s a really fast pace and there’s a lot of conditioning.”
Winter has been dedicated mostly arm conditioning and strength training with players in the weight room about three times a week.
Bednarek has had 26 players sign up for baseball and he might gain a few once the varsity boys basketball season ends.
The plan calls for Morton to field varsity and junior varsity teams in the spring, playing home games on Georgas Field (named for former coach Jack Georgas).
After high school, Bednarek spent one fall with the baseball team at Quincy (Ill.) University then transferred to Indiana University-Bloomington and earned a degree in Secondary Education focused on Social Studies. That’s when he began coaching in the summer — two with Bobby Morris and 5 Star National Great Lakes and one with the Indiana Playmakers.