Westmoreland high school notebook: Wiederstein lands Michigan scholarship before pitching for Hempfield varsity
Tyler Wiederstein did not throw a single pitch at the varsity level last season for Hempfield baseball, but the sophomore right-hander has a scholarship to Michigan.
Wiederstein committed Monday, the same day he received an offer from the Wolverines.
“I never imagined it would all happen this quickly,” said Wiederstein, who was likely headed for more Division I offers.
He planned to take unofficial visits to Pitt and Virginia Tech.
“I haven't even thrown a baseball since August,” he said.
He didn't need to. His affiliations with get-you-seen organizations like Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report splashed his name onto coaches' radar screens.
The same thing happened to Franklin Regional sophomore catcher Bryce Harper, who in August verbally committed to Virginia Tech.
Harper only had three doubles, a home run, three RBIs and nine runs as a freshman last spring. But his stock rose over the summer while playing on the same summer team with Wiederstein.
The recruiting game has changed for baseball recruits, much like it has for softball players who are committing long before their senior years and plucking scholarships out of season. Take Belle Vernon pitcher Bailey Parshall, who gave Penn State a verbal commitment when she was a freshman. Hempfield ace Morgan Ryan committed to Notre Dame when she was a sophomore.
“I played in the Futures Games in Cary (N.C.), and I think PBR helped get my name out there,” Wiederstein said.
“I talked to the (Michigan) coaches after my visit (Saturday) and told them how much I loved it up there. They asked me if I wanted to be a part of the program.”
Hempfield baseball coach Tim Buzzard knows Wiederstein will help his team. The fine line for coaches is knowing when to use on-the-rise players who have the talent but need to develop like current upperclassmen did.
“Tyler works extremely hard and is a very mature kid,” Buzzard said. “He has a ton of ability and upside on the mound. I look forward to watching him grow. I anticipate he will have a lot of success down the road.”
The recruiting process is faster — and so is Wiederstein's fastball.
He plans to start a velocity program later this month. He has been clocked at 89 mph.
And while he is young, he is ahead of his years when it comes to knowing what could lie ahead.
“I have to approach (committing) as just another day,” he said. “I have to put it behind me quickly and expect the worst. I know (fans) are going to harass me and say things I don't want to hear. I have to be ready to deal with that.”
Westmoreland County will be well represented in the WPIAL soccer playoffs, which are begin Oct. 21.
A total of six boys teams and seven girls teams are set to enter the postseason. The boys qualifiers are: Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford and Norwin in Class 4A; Belle Vernon in 3A; Mt. Pleasant in 2A; and Greensburg Central Catholic in A. Girls qualifiers are Penn-Trafford and Norwin in 4A; Franklin Regional, Belle Vernon and Mt. Pleasant in 3A; Yough in 2A and Greensburg CC in A.
Wexell approaching record
Norwin girls soccer goalkeeper Sam Wexell has eight shutouts this season, adding to a career clean-sheet total that could lead to a WPIAL record.
Heading into Wednesday night's showdown with rival Penn-Trafford, Wexell has 45 career shutouts. The WPIAL record is 56 by Hampton's Mara Lee from 1992-95.
Wexell, an Ohio recruit, ranks fifth. Others in the top five are Hampton's Jamie Pelosi (1998-2001) with 55, Norwin's Kori Koper (1999-02) with 50 and Mars' Laura McMeekin (1997-00) with 48.
The WPIAL announced three recipients for the WPIAL Sportsmanship Award. They are Avonworth, Beaver Falls and Greensburg Salem.
The WPIAL said, “Each of the schools promoted and demonstrated the elements of good sportsmanship during the 2016-17 school year.”
The schools will be honored at the Sportsmanship Summit Nov. 9 at the Heinz History Center.