Westmoreland athletes of the week: Jeannette's Mike Pompei, Franklin Regional's Mallory Halleck
Claim to fame: Pompei hit a two-run home run to lead Jeannette (12-6, 9-3) to an 11-1 win over Geibel in Section 2-A action May 10. Pompei allowed three hits with seven strikeouts in four innings to earn the win. On Wednesday, he hit a walk-off infield single to lead No. 7 Jeannette to a 4-3 win over Western Beaver in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.
What are your college plans for next year?
I will go to Seton Hill to study mathematics and play basketball. I'm really good at math, and it comes easy to me.
What is the key to a long playoff run?
We need to stay together as team. We can't get down on ourselves. We have to fight back.
How important was the win against Geibel to end the losing streak heading into the playoffs?
We couldn't lose that game. It was a must-win for seeding and confidence in ourselves. We came off some rough games against Central and Eden. We could have and should have won those games.
How is the team different this season?
We only lost one starter from last year, and it will help us a ton with having the experience of being in the playoffs before.
How did it feel to secure coach Marcus Clarkson's 100th career win?
Our coach does so much for us on and off the field. We wanted to get that win out of the way before playoffs started. We didn't know if coach knew that we knew and wanted to surprise him afterward.
School: Franklin Regional
Claim to fame: Halleck, who had a .359 batting average, five home runs, five doubles and 16 RBIs during the regular reason, hit a three-run home run to lead Franklin Regional (14-5, 11-3) to a 7-4 win over McKeesport in nonsection May 8. On Tuesday, she hit a two-run home run to help the Panthers defeat Ringgold, 10-1, in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs.
What do you think the team can learn from the loss to Plum in the last game of the regular season?
I think we can learn that anything can happen. We have to be ready for anything. It didn't bother us. We know what we are capable of, and we looked past it to the next game.
What does the team need to do to defeat Moon in the quarterfinals?
Our strategy this season has been to take one pitch at a time. We always say that before every game. It has really showed our progress. We don't like to think of the future, and that strategy has really helped us.
How does it feel to capture the school's first playoff win since 2009?
It was awesome. We knew we could do it. With winning that game, we know we get to play another one and do the same thing.
How do think you have improved this season?
My hitting has improved. My confidence has risen so much. I know I will get a pitch and hit it hard. If I put in play, I will be able to help out the team.
What do you like more, hitting or fielding?
Batting. I have always been a strong, powerful hitter. I feel like I make more of an impact hitting. I can see a good pitch and hit it really hard.
— Andrew John