The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Athlete Spotlight: Joe Poduslenko

Senior shortstop Joe Poduslenko, a Seton Hall signee, has been a fundamental part of the back-to-back-to-back Inter-Ac championship teams.

After working his way into the lineup during his freshman year, “Pods” has led the Friars to a 28-2 record in the league over the past three seasons. Joe is hitting .393 on this year and is leading the team in doubles, home runs, RBIs, runs, OBP, SLG, walks, and stolen bases. In the field, “Pods” is a fantastic defender with quickness and great range. After the last regular season game, I sat down with the captain to ask him a few questions about baseball, his Malvern experience, and his promising college career.

Q. After seeing you play for two seasons, I know you definitely play a hustle style of baseball as you’re always stealing bases and digging out infield hits. What do you think is the best part of your game?

A. Getting on base for the team is something that I think I do very well. As the leadoff hitter, it’s my job to set the plate for the heart of the order. I also try to score runs any way I can, either by stealing bases, getting walked or hit by pitches, or advancing on passed balls and wild pitches.


Q. What was the deciding factor in your college decision that made you choose Seton Hall?

A. They have a great group of coaches at Seton Hall whom I felt really comfortable with. Their coaches expressed a lot of interest in me, and it is a place where I feel I can play pretty soon. Also I liked that the school is only two hours away, so my parents can come see me play.


Q. I know the past two seasons you have played third base, and you played a little first base freshman year. Do you think of yourself as a natural shortstop, and do you want to continue playing that position in college?

A. I had always been a shortstop from little league until the time I got to Malvern. My freshman year Coach Hilliard put me over at first base to try to find me a spot in the lineup. The next two years I settled in at third base, but I definitely feel at home at shortstop. The shortstop is the captain of the infield, and that position allows me to be a very vocal leader. I would really like to continue playing shortstop at Seton Hall.


Q. Coach Hilliard got the job as head coach your freshman season.  How much has his influence and leadership shaped you as a player?

A. He has been really significant in my development here at Malvern. As a freshman, Coach took me under his wing and showed me how to play the game the right way. His strong leadership has rubbed off on me, and he demonstrated how I should lead on the field. He is definitely the most knowledgeable coach I have ever played for and that is shown by his record (100 wins in only four years). Coach Hilliard also never gets down on the team and is constantly supportive and positive.


Q. What was your greatest memory from your Malvern career: baseball and school related?

A. My two greatest memories have to be completing our perfect Inter-Ac season last year at Germantown Academy, and the Springside Chestnut Hill game from this season when we came back from a 6-0 deficit to win 9-7. My favorite school related memory is all of the life-long friends I have made here including some fantastic teachers that I will certainly stay in touch with.


Q. You’re not the fastest guy on the team, but you’re an unbelievable base stealer. You have 21 stolen bases in 21 attempts this year. Give me a quick lesson on how you do it.

A. I have always had pretty good instincts on the base paths. To be a great base stealer, you have to be as aggressive as possible and learn to read the pitcher’s move. You can’t be afraid to take a chance when you have one. Just making the pitcher have to worry about you on first base can completely change the at-bat for your teammate at the plate. It can lead to the pitcher being more prone to make a mistake and leave a pitch out over the plate for the batter to crush.

Q. Do you have any special baseball superstitions or rituals you carry out during games?

A. This season I have worn the same helmet for every at-bat. It has white tape on both sides near the ear holes. Sometimes if I have a tough game, I’ll try and switch things up for the next game like wearing a different undershirt below my jersey or doing something different with my socks.


Q. What are your goals for your freshman year of college?

A. I want to work as hard as possible, and show the coaches I have what it takes to be a Division 1 baseball player. Hopefully, I can work my way into the starting lineup, but I’ll accept any role they want to give me. I’m also going to try to work really hard academically and get good grades.


Q. Which one of your teammates the past four years has helped you become the player you are today?

A. I think my fellow seniors Billy Ford, Steve Robinson, and I have a really close relationship. Billy and I were both varsity players freshman year, and Steve transferred to Malvern sophomore year. We all really gelled from the start and have great chemistry on the field. I consider them some of my best friends, and we have had a lot of success and won a lot of games.

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