Hempfield's 'Tornado boy' makes a name on diamond
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It was more than two years ago, in a time of suffering, one Hempfield boy took on the persona of “Tornado Boy.”
But now, Tyler Tubbs, a senior pitcher for the Spartans baseball team, has made a name for himself in a different area.
Tubbs, during the early signing period last week, signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Pitt-Johnstown. The right-hander, who hopes to enter the lineup as a starting pitcher, finished his junior year 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA and 31 strikouts in 26 innings.
“I was really excited to play for Pitt-Johnstown next year. I'm really honored to play baseball in college,” Tubbs said. “I was looking at a wide variety of schools, but it was a unanimous decision for me. It was a nice place and had a good major for me. It just felt right.”
Tubbs will decide between either civil or mechanical engineering.
Many also will remember Tubbs for another reason.
On March 23, 2011, a F2 tornado made a rare appearance and ripped through Westmoreland County. As a 15-year-old, Tubbs captured the event through his iPod camera in a 90-second video.
With easy access to different social media portals, Tubbs uploaded the video on YouTube. Within a short time, Tubbs' life changed.
“Tornado Boy” was fielding media requests from radio stations and television programs, including CNN newscasts, ABC's “Good Morning America,” and A&E's “Disaster Guy.” Tubbs also made appearances on Fox News, The Weather Channel and MTV Canada.
What was the best interview for a teenager that is locked in social media, you may ask?
“I would probably say Skyping with CNN,” Tubbs said. “It was pretty cool being on television live on Skype.”
Reflecting on the experience, Tubbs discovered one positive that came out of all that notoriety.
“It made me feel like I had a responsibility,” Tubbs said. “I had a responsibility to sell T-shirts and help raise money to help those affected by the tornado.”
After all the hype died down, Tubbs was able to be a regular teenager and focus on getting better on the diamond.
Tubbs was part of a Spartans team that went 20-5 last season and qualified for the PIAA playoffs after defeating Pine-Richland in the WPIAL Class AAA consolation game.
In his final season at Hempfield, Tubbs is looking to improve personally and also believes the Spartans can return to the state tournament.
“I'm trying to get stronger and also trying to improve my velocity on all my pitches,” Tubbs said. “A lot goes into that and getting better.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Knoch senior ejected from WPIAL title game for wild slide
- Knoch wins 1st WPIAL title by beating defending champ West Allegheny
- McCombs tosses 1-hitter to lead Serra to PIAA tournament
- Greensburg Central Catholic downs defending champs California to win title
- Central Catholic knocks off Norwin to win 1st WPIAL baseball title
- Trib Cup: Greensburg Central Catholic celebrates WPIAL title
- Neshannock shuts out Quaker Valley to capture WPIAL championship
- Knoch’s Bradley uses lessons learned to lead baseball team
- Gorman: Neshannock’s hero at the hot corner
- Steel Valley uses late rally to beat Keystone Oaks, advance to PIAA playoffs
- Mustangs point to several positives from 2015 season