Will Marable of the Upper Arlington High School baseball team isn't always quite sure what to expect from himself.
His coaches and teammates, however, feel like they know what they'll get from the junior pitcher and shortstop no matter where he is on -- or off -- the field.
A three-year starter at shortstop and one of the Golden Bears' top starting pitchers, Marable uses an assortment of deliveries on the mound to keep hitters off balance, a discriminating eye at the plate to help pace UA's offense and an optimistic outlook to lead his teammates on and off the field.
"He can be our game-changer," coach Matt Middleton said. "He's consistent and he makes contact, not to mention what he can do on the mound."
Through 17 games, Marable led UA with a .378 batting average and 17 hits (16 singles and a triple) and was second on the team with seven RBI. He had struck out only twice in 45 at-bats and had drawn eight walks.
On the mound, he was 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA, 21 strikeouts and five walks in 21 innings.
"I just try to not think," Marable said of his approach. "Just go up with the same approach every time and have a plan on what you're going to do before you get up there and, for the most part, keep your head clear and know your job."
Marable experimented with various deliveries and arm positions when he played Wiffle Ball and recreational baseball in his youth. He now throws with his arm extended 90 or 135 degrees from his elbow to employ an array of off-speed pitches.
"I'd try to throw a curveball from sidearm and, if I could master that, I'd work it into baseball through repetition," Marable said. "I don't overpower people. They'll hit the ball and we'll see what happens."
That approach creates a plethora of movement that sometimes amazes his teammates and makes matters unpredictable for both UA's fielders and opposing hitters.
"He's not going to throw it by you, but just about every pitch he throws has just a ton of movement," senior outfielder Tyler Metcalf said. "He can consistently throw those for strikes. He's come through in a few big spots."
Metcalf added that Marable's energetic personality is equally important to his pitching and offense, if not more so, depending on the situation.
"One of the things about baseball is that it's a long season with some long games," Metcalf said. "There's not always a ton of excitement, so he keeps that energy going and keeps the team loose. That's almost as important as the stuff he does on the field."
Marable had the winning hit -- a seventh-inning single -- in a 10-9 win over New Albany on April 2. He also was the winning pitcher that game, which was highlighted by an eight-run sixth inning by the Bears.
At the top of the Bears' agenda for the remainder of the season is to establish consistency. They entered the week 6-11 overall and 4-4 in the OCC-Central Division and had won three of four games in a recent stretch before bad weather forced them to wait six days between games.
UA will travel to Hilliard Davidson on Thursday, May 2, for a league game that was postponed April 24. The contest is the first of five consecutive road games.
"Every time it seems like we're getting something together, we get a game rained out," senior pitcher/utility player Sam Thompson said. "The biggest thing is to keep fighting. We've been getting down early in games, so (Middleton) tells us to keep fighting, getting good at-bats and just keep working. The hits will come. We'll get back at it."