Daily News spotlight athletes: Steel Valley's Bryce Varhola, Thomas Jefferson's Kyla Prickett
TribLIVE Sports Videos
School: Steel Valley
Claim to fame: Varhola had a game-tying, two-out, full-count hit to keep the Ironmen alive in the bottom of the seventh inning against Seton-La Salle last week in the WPIAL Class AA championship game. The Ironmen went on to win the game 6-5 and claim the WPIAL title for the first time.
“Bryce has been solid for us all year,” coach Tim Vickers said. “We've come to count on him in all situations. He's been solid at second base as well. He's improved a lot over the years. We knew what we were going to get defensively. We've done a great job as a team. Everyone has played their part.”
How does it feel to have been such a big part of the championship win?
It felt good. When I got up there, I was just telling myself to find a gap somewhere. That was my main goal.
What was going through your mind during your at-bat in the bottom of the seventh?
I felt pretty confident. I just took a few deep breaths and tried to slow everything down to a speed I was comfortable with and wanted to approach the at-bat with. I got it to a 3-2 count and got the hit.
What does this win mean to you?
Wow, it means a great deal. It's the first one in our school's history, which is great. Plus, our team was so close with each other and that just made it more special.
What aspect of your game do you think you've improved the most this year?
I would say my approach to baseball in general. I've gotten mentally stronger, and I've gotten better each game as the season has gone on.
School: Thomas Jefferson
Claim to fame: Prickett homered and drove in three runs to help the Jaguars to a 5-3 victory over Mars in the WPIAL Class AAA championship game last week. The Jaguars, who defeated Bellefonte, 8-3, on Monday, will play Greensburg Salem at Baldwin in the PIAA quarterfinals Thursday.
“Kyla has been a leader and a clutch hitter for us all year,” coach Heidi Karcher said. “She lost her starting pitching job early in the season, but she worked hard and earned it back, and I admire her for that. She continued to work hard and has been stellar for us in the playoffs.”
How does it feel to be a champion?
It's completely unexplainable. You work hard all season and then you get there and look back on it and see how much you've accomplished. It's really incredible.
Did you think this was possible at the beginning of the season?
I feel like it was a pleasant surprise. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to just win three games and we ended up overshooting that by a lot.
How happy are you for your teammates?
I am so happy for everyone on the team. They all deserved this. Every single person has worked for it and has been a major influence on what we've done this year.
Why do you think your team was able to win the championship?
We've always had the ability as a team, but we needed to bond a little bit. We have a team this year that really loves the game where last year we had a few players that didn't have that love. We had that bond this year. When you find something you all have in common, it's easy to work and get along with them.
What do you have to do to keep your season going?
We just need to keep winning and working together as a team. We have to keep being strong offensively, and we have to keep making plays on defense. As long as we keep it together we will be fine.
— Robert Stinner
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt recruit Whitehead remains committed
- Pirates win bidding for Korean infielder
- Worker at Mercer County center accused of illegal sexual contact with juveniles
- Leon Ford’s civil rights lawsuit can proceed, judge rules
- Stocks push to record highs, continuing rally
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin won’t ask for taunting clarification from league
- WPIAL players named to Class AAA, A all-state teams
- Mars contends it was right to expel student with behavioral problems
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Monessen man jailed for stabbing