Daily News spotlight athletes: South Allegheny's Tyler Ellwood, Steel Valley's Maddie Cotter
School: South Allegheny
Claim to fame: Ellwood went 3 for 3 and knocked in three runs to help South Allegheny (3-7, 2-5) to an 8-7 victory over Section 4-AA opponent Jeannette on Thursday.
“Tyler's leadership has been great,” coach Mark Suckfiel said. “We split up our practices, so I give him our outfield drill list and they always get done. He has been a positive role model to this team. He has a great approach at the plate, gets good contact and steals bases as well. He does everything we ask him to do well.”
What are your goals for this season?
Our main goal is to make the playoffs. That's the most important thing for us. Other than that, I think we just want to improve the team as much as we can.
What got you into baseball?
I've been playing since T-ball. My parents just signed me up. I just kept improving over the years and have fallen more and more in love with it ever since.
What's your favorite movie?
I would say ‘Moneyball' because it kind of shows that you don't need to have the best team to do well, as long as you work hard.
What class do you enjoy the most?
I like biology. I plan on going into the medical field, so science is one of my interests. I want to be a physician's assistant. I'm going to attend St. Francis University and enter their physician's assistant program.
School: Steel Valley
Claim to fame: Cotter has put together an outstanding start to the season. She is 6-1 with 63 strikeouts in 52 innings and has helped the Ironmen (7-3, 6-2) stay close to the top of WPIAL Section 4-AA.
“Maddie is very enthusiastic and a great leader,” coach Matt Janov said. “She really encourages others. She did a nice job for us as a freshman last year and has improved a lot this year as well. She has carried us a lot so far this season. She keeps others from getting down and has a positive influence on everyone.”
Why have you been so effective striking batters out this season?
Our catcher, Chelsea Rohan, and I stay after practice an hour just to work on pitches and make sure we perfect everything. I think that plays a big role in having so many strikeouts.
How can the team continue the success you've had so far?
We've had a lot of people backing each other up this season. Confidence on the field is key. Picking each other up and cheering each other on has been big for us. If we continue that, we should be pretty good.
What do you enjoy most about softball?
I love pitching. I've been doing it since I was 10 in rec ball. I just have a lot of fun playing, especially with travel and high school.
Do you have a favorite place to go on vacation?
I don't really get to take vacations because of my schedule. It's like a vacation when we are traveling out of state for softball tournaments.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hoagies. I love them. I don't know why, but I've always liked them. Bishop's Italian hoagies are my favorite.
— Robert Stinner