Blackhawk's McKay, Riverside's Wilson named Pittsburgh Tribune-Review baseball, softball players of the year
Blackhawk's Brendan McKay and Riverside's Kirsten Wilson are this year's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review baseball and softball player of the year. They are joined on the Tribune-Review's Terrific 10 by nine other baseball and softball players.
Player of the year
Blackhawk, Junior, PITCHER/FIRST BASE/OUTFIELD
When Brendan McKay pitched, Blackhawk won.
The talented left-hander, who dazzled the WPIAL with a terrific curveball, was 7-0 with 101 strikeouts and only six walks in 56 innings, earning him Pittsburgh Tribune-Review baseball player of the year.
McKay allowed just one earned run for a 0.13 ERA, and only two other runs that were unearned.
But the junior also could hit, with a .440 average and three home runs.
He was Blackhawk's only returning starter, yet led the Cougars into the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals. A coveted college recruit, McKay last month was named this season's Gatorade Pennsylvania player of the year.
How was your role different this season?
This year we didn't have many returning players, like my first two seasons. It made me change the way I think about practice. I needed to step up more and help.
What was your best individual moment?
Probably the no-hitter against West Allegheny (McKay struck out 14 in a 1-0 victory). It was a hard-fought game that was scoreless into the ninth.
What was your reaction to the Gatorade award?
I was tremendously honored to win that award, knowing that a limited number of people can win it for each sport. Just to be called the best player in the state is amazing.
What pitches do you throw, and what's your best?
I throw a fastball, change-up and a curveball. My best is equally my fastball and curveball. I can spot my fastball wherever I need it. And with the curveball, I can get people to swing and miss or watch a first strike.
How has your college recruitment gone?
It's evolved really well. I have a lot of coaches who want me. I've made a few visits so far to Kentucky, Louisville, Wake Forest and Kent State. But I'll continue to make visits into the fall. I'd like to make a decision sometime in the fall or winter.
Do you hope you'll be drafted next summer?
Everybody would love to hear their name called. I'd like to be called, but even if it doesn't work out, I'll still go to college and hopefully get faster, stronger, throw harder and get better for after my junior year (in college) when I could get drafted again.
North Allegheny, Sr., SS
One of the WPIAL's best defensive shortstops, Bergstrom sparked North Allegheny's offense from the leadoff spot. The Penn State Behrend recruit batted .354 with 27 runs, including the game-winner in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game.
Bethel Park, Sr., P/1B
A James Madison recruit, Corrigan batted .448 with nine doubles, four home runs and 18 RBI. The left-hander also won five games for the Black Hawks. A three-year starter, Corrigan was among the best two-way players in AAAA.
Seneca Valley, Jr., P/OF
Coward was among the top pitchers in Class AAAA. The right-hander was 8-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 80 strikeouts for the WPIAL runner-up, one season after an injury limited him to playing outfield.
South Park, Sr., P/3B
A four-year starter, the right-hander led South Park with nine wins, including victories in the WPIAL Class AAA championship and semifinal. The Alderson-Broaddus recruit batted .362 with 28 RBI and four home runs. He had a two-run blast in the final.
OLSH, Sr., P/SS
Falascino batted .500 with 32 RBI and 39 runs, leading OLSH to a runner-up finish in WPIAL Class A. He had five home runs and 11 doubles, but the Slippery Rock recruit also was 8-2 with an 0.88 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 64 innings.
Beaver, Sr., C
Herstine batted .510 with 26 RBI and five home runs for the WPIAL Class AA champion and PIAA runner-up. He also skillfully handled a starting staff that allowed one run or fewer in the WPIAL quarters, semis and final.
Riverview, Sr., P/SS
Malky ranked among the WPIAL's top hitters and pitchers, and nearly led the league in strikeouts and batting average. The right-handed Akron recruit with a 6-3 record struck out a WPIAL-best 101 in the regular season, while also batting .577.
Keystone Oaks, Sr., P/OF
The left-hander was 11-1 with a 0.28 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 76 innings, including a no-hitter that earned Keystone Oaks its first PIAA playoff victory. He allowed just one run in five postseason starts. The Kent State recruit hit .435.
South Park, Sr., P/OF
A four-year starter, Yobbi helped South Park win the WPIAL Class AAA title with an undefeated record. The South Carolina-Aiken recruit batted .500 with 32 RBI and 34 runs. He was 7-0 pitching with a 0.83 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 49 innings.
Player of the year
Riverside, Senior, Pitcher
When she stepped in the pitching circle, opposing batters cringed.
When she walked to the plate, opposing pitchers shuttered.
And when she hoisted the WPIAL championship trophy after a 5-1 win over Deer Lakes, Kirsten Wilson smiled.
Wilson, who will continue her career at Division II Bloomfield College in New Jersey, just completed a dominant season as part of the WPIAL Class AA champion Riverside softball team.
The senior went 22-1 with a 0.28 ERA, allowing just eight runs in 150 innings with 271 strikeouts. She threw 11 consecutive shutouts at one point and had 19 overall.
She threw four no-hitters and two perfect games, as Riverside reached the PIAA championship game, where the Panthers fell to Brandywine Heights, 1-0.
In the PIAA playoffs, Wilson threw a perfect game in a first-round win over Curwensville, a one-hitter in a quarterfinal victory over Ligonier Valley and a no-hitter to defeat Philipsburg-Osceola in the semifinals.
She hit .549 with six home runs and 22 RBI and also drew 27 intentional walks, a statistic of respect — and fear.
For her efforts, Wilson is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review softball player of the year.
What will you remember most about the 2013 season?
We had an awesome group of girls. It was a lot of fun playing with all of them.
How did it feel to win the WPIAL title?
It was amazing. I wouldn't trade this team for anybody else.
What does it take mentally to throw a perfect game?
I don't pay attention to it. I didn't know I threw a perfect game until someone told me about it. I don't try to throw perfect games and no-hitters. I just trust my defense to make plays behind me.
Would you say opposing pitchers were scared to pitch to you?
I think coaches were. It was a little frustrating at the beginning. But Natalie Pritts really stepped up behind me.
Have you recovered from the loss in the state championship game?
I'm starting to. We had a great season. Nobody can take that away from us. We knew we had a good team, and I think we proved that.
Why did you pick Bloomfield College?
I really liked the coach and liked the location.
Do you have any hobbies outside of softball?
Softball, softball and more softball
Have you ever pitched to a baseball player?
I'm probably going to pitch to Ross Maietta from the (Riverside) baseball team. He's pretty cocky.
How many pitches do you throw?
Six — fastball, change, rise, screw, drop curve, two seam.
Canon-McMillan, Sr., P
The Waynesburg recruit went 25-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 140 strikeouts for the WPIAL and PIAA champion Big Macs. She also threw a perfect game against Hempfield in the WPIAL semifinals and sealed the state title with a 12-inning victory in the pitching circle.
Chartiers-Houston, Sr., P
A two-time Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 10 selection, Briggs had 17 wins this season, including three no-hitters and 172 strikeouts, while also batting .429 with five doubles, six triples and 16 runs batted in.
Montour, Sr., SS
One of the toughest players in the WPIAL to strike out, the Robert Morris recruit hit .571 this season, with 26 RBI and four home runs. She also had a .905 slugging percentage and didn't strike out all year.
Trinity, So., SS
After hitting .554 with 11 doubles, two home runs and 23 runs batted in this season, Grey made a verbal commitment to Pitt last month. She was an all-state player last year after hitting 12 home runs as a freshman.
Canon-McMillan, Jr., 3B
A Robert Morris recruit, Lorusso hit .390 with seven home runs and 35 RBI for the power-hitting Big Macs. She also is a basketball and volleyball player at Canon-McMillan.
Canon-McMillan, So., RF
Another power hitter for the Big Macs, McCartney hit .515 with five home runs, eight doubles and six triples, along with 31 RBI. She played catcher for much of the season, filling in for the injured Giorgiana Zeremenko.
South Side Beaver, Fr., SS/1B/P
After batting .603 with a staggering 14 home runs — including four grand slams — and 54 RBI, the first-year varsity player made a verbal commitment to the University of Pittsburgh.
Neshannock, So., P
Shaffer led the Lancers to a WPIAL championship and PIAA runner-up finish after posting a 21-3 record, with 199 strikeouts and a 0.49 ERA. She also hit .470 with 32 runs batted in.
Greensburg Salem, Sr., P
A repeat Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 10 selection, the Marist recruit struck out 235 batters and went 21-1 for the Golden Lions. She also hit .390 with 15 RBI for the WPIAL Class AAA champions.