Valley News Dispatch spotlight athletes: Burrell's Nik Artman, Freeport's Taylor Massart
Report card: Through the end of last week, Artman was leading the Buccaneers with a .691 batting average (13 for 21). He also had 10 RBI and nine stolen bases.
Does the baseball just look huge to you right now?
I'm on a hot streak right now. Baseball is just about streaks. I'm just seeing and hitting it well.
Do you like to go up swinging, or work the pitcher?
I always go up swinging. I'm very aggressive. A majority of my hits are on first pitches.
Do you prefer pitching or playing the field?
I definitely like being on the mound. The past few years I've been struggling with arm problems, but I love pitching.
How have you been able to steal nine bases this year?
High school pitchers have a lot of tendencies. Any time I can study (the pitcher), I'm usually pretty good.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Lower Burrell, not including fast food?
It has to be a tie. Buffalo Bill's, even though it's in New Kensington, and Villa Billanca. (Villa Billanca's) pizza is good.
Report card: The first baseman has played a key role in Freeport's offensive output this season and is tied for the team lead in home runs with five. She has also driven in 25 runs.
Describe the feeling when you hit a home run?
It feels really good, especially because this is the best I've been hitting in high school, and it feels good to finally hit really well.
The team averages 11.4 runs per game. What do you attribute to that success?
I feel like we work really hard in practice, and I feel that really pays off. The girls show up and work hard, and it shows in the game.
Here's the scenario: You're at bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, and you're down by 3. Do you try to put one over the fence to end the game or play it safe and just try to get a hit?
I wouldn't be thinking about hitting a home run. I would just try to make contact.
What are your plans after high school?
I will be going to Allegheny College and probably play softball. I want to major in physical therapy.
After losing to Deer Lakes, 5-4, in extra innings the first time around, what will the atmosphere be like when you play Tuesday?
It's going to very intense. We always get excited to play Deer Lakes because that's our biggest competition. We are always pumped up to play good and do our best.