Baldwin freshman catcher Eberst relies on natural abilities
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The highlight of Kayla Eberst's high school softball season came in the seventh inning of a tied game against rival Mt. Lebanon.
Eberst, 15-year-old freshman catcher on the Baldwin varsity squad, belted a walk-off grand slam home run to end the game in spectacular fashion.
It was one of a team-leading five home runs this season for Eberst, who is a Division I college prospect according to her head coach, Samantha “Sam” Kuharic.
“She's an unbelievable talent, and she's only going to get better,” Kuharic said. “She just has natural ability.”
Baldwin's veteran field boss played softball collegiately at Penn State. She knows what it takes to play for a Division I university, and believes Eberst will be ready to do just that when she is a senior.
“She's going to be a Division I player, without a doubt,” Kuharic said. “She's going to be great.”
Eberst was most proud of her hitting this year, and her statistics confirm why.
She led the team in several areas, including batting average (.471), slugging percentage (.971), at-bats (70), hits (33), runs scored (22), home runs, triples (7) and RBI (18). She tied for the team lead with six doubles, and struck out only five times in 70 at-bats.
As the Lady Highlanders' starting catcher, Eberst also contributes significantly defensively.
“I love playing catcher. I get to take charge of the field,” she said.
Eberst credits her grandmother, Donna, for motivating her throughout her nine-year softball career.
“If I wanted to take a break, she would encourage me and tell me how far I could go,” Eberst said.
Eberst also plays softball for the Tri-State Venom, a travel team based out of Mt. Washington. The team travels locally and to neighboring states throughout the summer.
She has been playing for Tri-State for two years; the only break from sports she gets during a year is a couple of weeks in February after basketball season.
Eberst played on both the girls' varsity and junior varsity basketball teams at Baldwin in 2012-13.
Nonetheless, softball is her favorite sport.
“It's the sport I'm better at, and the one I think I can go further,” she said.
Several freshmen made significant contributions to Baldwin's playoff this season, including Eberst, pitcher/outfielder Ana Hale, outfielder Mallory O'Brien, second baseman Ashley Brady, pitcher/outfielder Jaimie Schleicher and utility player Charlotte Nieman.
O'Brien finished with a .448 batting average and scored 18 runs this season. She led the club in both stolen bases (8) and sacrifices (5).
Schleicher batted .397 with a .662 slugging percentage. She clouted four home runs, scored 19 runs and drove in 16 runs.
Hale hit .333 with a .404 slugging percentage, while Nieman hit .317 with a .383 slugging percentage.
Brady had a .254 batting average, scored 14 runs, and was not caught once in seven base-stealing attempts.
The freshman team members are a tight-knit group of athletes, many of whom played together on youth and travel teams before they started their high school careers.
Baldwin finished the 2013 campaign in third place in Section 4-AAAA behind Peters Township and Canon-McMillan.
The Lady Highlanders advanced to the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs, where they fell to McKeesport in a wild first-round matchup, 11-10, to end up 11-9 on the year.
Eberst enjoys the camaraderie and teamwork required for softball.
She thinks the Lady Highlanders have a good core group that will be successful in the future. Eberst's goal is to win a WPIAL championship in softball at Baldwin.
“I think our chances are really high,” she said. “We have a really good group of girls.”
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.
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.
- Steelers defense must replace three injured starters
- Pirates notebook: Volquez open to re-signing with team
- Steelers notebook: Running game kept Panthers guessing
- Gubernatorial debate features incumbent in need of win vs. wealthy businessman running as an outsider
- Penguins notebook: Crosby gets early work
- Root Sports prepares for Pitt/WVU telecast overlap
- At least 40 Iraqi soldiers killed in Islamic State strike; dozens captured
- Rossi: State of NFL gives Steelers a chance
- Peduto’s first budget proposal seeks to increase real estate tax rate
- Port Authority bus drives over embankment; driver only one aboard
- NFL notebook: QB-strapped Bucs hold tryout for Pryor