Daily News spotlight athletes: Elizabeth Forward's Andrew Jacobs, West Mifflin's Crystal Cook
School: Elizabeth Forward
Claim to fame: Jacobs pitched five innings, giving up one run on three hits while recording six strikeouts, in a 7-3 victory over Yough last week.
Do you enjoy pitching or hitting more?
I like pitching more because it's been my favorite position since I was little. I've always liked it better. I like batting a lot, too, but I just prefer pitching.
What kind of pitches do you throw?
I throw a fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. I probably like throwing my fastball the most because I like to challenge hitters. I like to see who's better, them or me. I like to see who wins the battle of each pitch and each at-bat.
How do you think the team will perform this season?
I think we should be pretty good. We're an older group and as long as we come together and play as a team and make sure everyone goes out there and gives it their all every single day, we should do well.
What major league hitter would you like to try to strike out?
I'm not really sure. Maybe someone like (Andrew) McCutchen because he's a local guy. He's one of the best, if not the best. I think that would be fun.
What are your plans for next year?
I'm definitely going to school and I'd love to continue pitching, but I'm not sure where I'm going to go yet. I'm undecided on a major as well, but I'm leaning toward business or something like that.
School: West Mifflin
Claim to fame: Cook hit an RBI single in the seventh inning to lead the Titans (4-1, 2-1) to a 1-0 victory over Section 3-AAA foe Belle Vernon last week.
“Crystal has been in big situations for us before,” coach Casey Phillips said. “No situation is too big for her. She has been a four-year starter for us and we have seen her confidence grow every year. She's a career .330 hitter and hits for power and average. She's been excellent for us, and we need her to do it again this year.”
What was going through your mind right before you got that game-winning hit?
I wasn't having a very good game at the plate, and I just thought that I had to pick myself up for my team and just put the ball in play. I just needed to stay focused, and I hit the ball really well.
How do you approach each at-bat?
Each at-bat is different depending on the pitcher. If I know that I can hit her, I am very confident. If I don't know her or I know she's really good, I can get nervous and I'll have to re-focus myself.
What would you like to improve this season?
I worked on my pitching a little, but I mostly worked on my hitting because I felt like I had a bad season last year. I really focused on my mechanics for most of the winter.
What are the team's goals?
We want to go out and play hard every game and stay focused and stay in the game and not get down. We want to stay focused on winning and playing hard.
— Robert Stinner