Athletes in the spotlight: Nikki Matz, Robbie Miller
School: Seneca Valley
Claim to fame: The pitcher allowed only four hits in an 8-0 victory over Mars last Tuesday. She followed it up with a no-hitter against Oakland Catholic in a 10-0 win.
Why do you pitch?
When I was younger, I liked to be more involved in the plays. I started out when I was 10. My neighbor taught me how to pitch, and I really liked it because you got to be involved in every play. Then, I would pitch in the cul de sac with my dad.
How has your dad influenced your game?
He helps coach my travel team, and he's really helped me get better at softball. He comes to all of my practices, and I practice with him at home a lot. It helps make our bond better. It's kind of cool because he's always interested in what I'm doing, and I can talk to him about it.
How do you feel about your season?
I was really happy with how I did. I think toward the end of the season I improved a lot with pitching against teams and was getting used to playing at a varsity level. I want to work on hitting spots and doing what I'm supposed to do. I can't strike every person out, so it's good to rely on your team.
What's your favorite subject in school?
Science. I've just always been interested in biology. I want to go into something in the medical field in college.
Do you have a superstition?
When I'm pitching, I don't like anyone else to touch the ball between innings or step in the circle. I always yell at people when they pick up the ball. It just keeps my momentum going between innings.
Claim to fame: Miller led Freeport to its first Class AA playoff victory in 15 years. He went 4 for 4 at the plate with a triple. The senior also brought in three runs to aid in the 9-4 win over Brownsville.
How does it feel to get a playoff win?
It feels great. Freeport hasn't won a playoff game in 15 years, so it felt good to be the team to break that streak.
What is your favorite aspect of the game?
There is something happening at all times. I like that it's really unpredictable and keeps you on your toes.
Where are you going to college?
I am attending the University of Pittsburgh and am majoring in mechanical engineering. I've always had an interest in math and science. It seems like a good thing to be getting into with all of the natural gas around our area.
What are you your game day superstitions?
I have a couple of superstitions around the field. I don't step on the lines before the game. I don't put my hat on until we get to the field. It just gets me in the right mindset and ready to play.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would probably go to Italy. I feel like it would be a lot warmer and nicer there than the Pennsylvania weather.
What is your favorite dessert?
Probably strawberry cheesecake.
— Brittany Goncar