Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Steel Valley's Brandon Donovan, Riverside's Kirsten Wilson
School: Steel Valley
Claim to fame: Donovan pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts and went 2 for 4 with an RBI in the Ironmen's 10-4 win over Shady Side Academy that captured the Section 4-AA title on May 6. Donovan, who is 6-0 this season, struck out 43 batters in 33 2⁄3 innings this year and posted an earned run average of 0.89.
“He was clearly our ace,” coach Tim Vickers said. “Anytime you put him on the field, you expected to win. He was dominant every time he took to the mound.”
How satisfying was it to know that you played a major role in Steel Valley winning a section title?
It's been a great experience. I couldn't ask for a better team and coaching staff than what I have right now.
Is there added pressure on you because you're an underclassmen?
It has been kind of been noticeable lately. Being one of the younger players on the team, I know I have to step up and play like the older players. I go out sometimes kind of nervous, but I try to stay confident in myself.
Was it hard keeping a balance between your pitching performances and also contributing at the plate?
It's pretty hard, but every time I go up to the plate, I just go up trying to get a hit. When I'm on the mound, I just try to pitch my best and get us a win.
Claim to fame: Wilson struck out 11 while throwing a perfect game in a 10-0 victory over Bentworth in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs Tuesday. She pitched a complete-game one-hitter and struck out 11 to lead Riverside in a 1-0, nonsection win over Neshannock on May 6. She also threw a complete game and struck out 10 in a 3-0 win over Beaver Falls in Section 5-AA on April 22. Wilson (15-0) pitched 13 shutouts, struck out 170 batters and posted a .036 earned run average during the regular season.
How would you say the regular season went?
I think we did a really good job. We played solid defense, and we came out and showed what we can do.
What's your secret to all the success you've had on the mound?
It's just hard work. I go to pitching lessons every week and just work hard to perfect my pitches.
What's your best pitch?
My rise ball. I used it a lot this and last season. I guess it's been working well.
Have you ever pitched against one of the baseball players?
No, but we have a running bet. Our second baseman bet one of the baseball players $20 that I'd strike him out. He never showed up.
What are you hoping for in the playoffs?
I hope we can come out and hit and continue what we did in the regular season.
— Brian Graham