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Daily News spotlight athletes: Clairton's Harrison Dreher, West Mifflin's Alyssa Cairns

| Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 1:01 a.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Flyers' Mark Streit celebrates his overtime goal behind Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

Harrison Dreher

School: Clairton

Class: Sophomore

Sport: Baseball

Claim to fame: Dreher went 4 for 4 and struck out six in four innings to help carry Clairton to a 9-6 victory over Geibel in Section 2-A play last week.

“I think he brings everything we need to the table for this team,” coach Ted Ulmer said. “He's an unbelievably fierce competitor. When he's out there, he hustles and just kills himself. He hasn't hit for a lot of power but always makes solid contact with the ball and hustles out of the box. He steals bases for us when he gets on. He's also incredibly versatile. He's already played four or five positions for us this season.”

Do you enjoy hitting or pitching more?

I enjoy hitting more because it's just a lot of fun. I really enjoy doing it.

What about pitching do you find most difficult?

Throwing accurately can be tough — just making sure the pitch is accurate and putting it where the batter can't hit it.

What do you enjoy most about baseball?

It's just fun. I've liked it since I was a kid. I've always loved it.

How long have you been playing?

I've been playing since I was 5. It was the first sport I ever played. My mom took me to the Clairton baseball fields, and after that I just started playing.

Who is your favorite player and why?

My favorite player is Derek Jeter. He's just an exciting baseball player. I just love the way he plays. I like the swagger he plays with. He plays his heart out and plays really hard.

Alyssa Cairns

School: West Mifflin

Class: Junior

Sport: Softball

Claim to fame: Cairns went 2 for 3 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored in a 6-0 win over Section 2-AAA opponent Yough last week. She is hitting .600 with eight doubles and 14 RBIs.

“Having Alyssa is like having another coach on the field,” coach Casey Phillips said. “She's a phenomenal defensive catcher, very sure-handed and even-keeled. She isn't a yeller or a screamer, just a classic observant leader. Even though she's one of the best players in the WPIAL, she does not carry herself like one, and that endears her to her teammates.”

What do you think about when you're up to bat?

I don't normally think about stats or anything like that. I just go up there and try to get contact on the ball and get the ball in play.

Do you change your approach to at-bats depending on the situation?

Depending on the situation and count or something of that nature, I will choke up on the bat. I might try to compensate if the pitcher is pitching inside or slower. For example, I might move up in the box just to get ahead of the ball or something like that.

Is hitting something you work on more than other areas?

I always do tee work where I just focus on hitting. We do a lot of reps in the batting cages, but I try to have a well-rounded game.

What do you enjoy doing outside of school and softball?

I also play basketball and I do marching band, but I like hanging out with my friends when I have time. I don't have a lot of free time because I usually am kept busy with sports. When I do have free time on weekends, I like to hang out with my friends.

What's your favorite class?

I would say the sciences because I'd like to get into physical therapy.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

I guess I would pick Paris, France, because it's a pretty place with the Eiffel Tower and such. It seems like it would be a cool place to go.

— Robert Stinner

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