Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Blackhawk's Cody Bain, Seneca Valley's Nikki Matz
Claim to fame: Bain pitched a no-hitter and struck out 15 batters to help the Class AAA No. 1-ranked Cougars to a 7-0 win over Mohawk on March 27. Bain was originally slated to work four innings, but coach Bob Amalia allowed him stay in and strike out 10 of the final 15 batters he faced.
“We're expecting big things from him,” Amalia said. “He can help us at the plate and in center field, so I think he's going to turn the corner for us.”
Coach Amalia said you were in some sort of zone on Thursday. What happened?
Honestly, I just kept going and didn't realize how well I was doing until the middle of the game. It sort of just happened.
How is your approach different from last year?
Last year, I wasn't as experienced pitching. This year, I feel like I'm hitting my spots so far. I also think I've gotten a lot stronger and more comfortable.
How lethal can the combination of you and Louisville recruit Brendan McKay be?
Brendan will hold up his end of the bargain. As long as I play to my possibilities, I think we can be pretty deadly out there and take this team pretty far.
What are your plans after high school?
I will be attending the United States Coast Guard Academy, playing football and baseball out there. I'm really excited to get out there.
School: Seneca Valley
Claim to fame: Matz pitched a six-inning, no-hitter with eight strikeouts for the Raiders in their 11-0 win over Fox Chapel in Section 3-AAA on March 27. Matz struck out five to help Seneca Valley top North Allegheny, 9-4, on Friday. Matz posted seven shutouts and a 0.54 earned run average as a sophomore.
Rate how you've started.
I'd rate it a 6. I'm not happy with all the walks. I just have to get used to live batters. I'm happy with my pitches because they're working.
Where do you hope to get as far as your progression?
I just think I need to get repetitions in. Hopefully, getting more game action will help me get better. Being able to practice outside will help a lot, too.
With nine starters back, how good can this Raiders team be?
I think we have a lot of potential. Even against (North Allegheny) I think a lot of individuals weren't happy with their performance. So I think as a team we can get even better.
What's the secret to your mound success?
I think the biggest part of it is the mental game. A lot of people can throw hard, but getting in situations with the bases loaded and two outs, winning by one … those situations force you to buckle down and get out of it.
— Brian Graham