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Westmoreland County high school athletes of the week: Greensburg Central Catholic's Paul Rice and Yough's Kierra Wa...

| Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 6:48 p.m.
Kierra Waywood, Yough
Kierra Waywood, Yough
Paul Rice, Greensburg Central Catholic
Paul Rice, Greensburg Central Catholic

Paul Rice

School: Greensburg Central Catholic

Sport: Baseball

Class: Freshman

Claim to fame: Rice hit a bases-clearing double to lead Greensburg Central Catholic (14-6) to a 7-2 win over Oswayo Valley in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals at Showers Field in Dubois on June 8. “With the hit last week, I was just trying to put the ball in play. All my coaches just say to put it in play. I felt like it changed the tide of the game since we were down 2-0,” he said.

How were you able to keep yourself ready when you number gets called?

The work you put in around the games. Neal (McDermott), my brother, James, and myself would go to the batting cages to remain ready for that one moment in the game.

How does it feel to be part of a team that made it to the school's first PIAA semifinal appearance since 2002?

It feels really good. It didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. We still made a deep run in states, and we are a really young team with a lot of our starters returning next year. I think we are going to make another deep run next year.

How was the extra-inning loss to Jeannette in the WPIAL Class A championship?

It was really intense, but when I'm on the field you don't hear the fans. It was really big and huge. I was just trying to have fun, and I was taking in the moment. I'm not sure I will have it again, but I hope I do.

How were the seniors able to help you through the season?

They taught me to stay a little more humble and don't show a lot of emotion. Jack (Liberatore) and Neal helped me with my swing, and Jason (Hoover) taught me to be more laid back and to have more fun.

What did you learn in your first year?

I learned a lot from my coaches about not getting your head down on a bad play. If you made an error, you just have to bounce back. You just have to focus on the next play.

Kierra Waywood

School: Yough

Sport: Softball

Class: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Waywood went 2 for 3 with a triple and five RBIs to lead Yough (19-4) to an 11-0 win over Kennard-Dale in six innings in the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals June 8 at Robb Sports Complex at Shippensburg. On the mound, she threw a four-hitter with two strikeouts. “For the season, I felt myself and the team did a fantastic job. I felt confident and thought we were going to come out with the win. I had no doubt that we would come out with the win,” she said.

What was the key for you in the win against Kennard-Dale?

I was able to hit my spots. The team was able to make plays and hit well. We were pretty much on top of our game at that point.

Where do you get the strength to battle through tendinitis?

I would try to not think about it. I would use a lot of Biofreeze and Icy Hot. The doctors gave me an arm brace where I would wear it when I was not playing to give it some rest. I just tried to work through the pain, and I tried to not think about it.

Which do you like more, hittingor pitching?

Pitching. They are both a challenge. I like the thrill of battling with someone. Striking out someone is exciting. I like the thrill of it.

How do you think you have grown through the season?

I grew all around. Coach Dutch Harvey has inspired me to push through pain, hitting my spots and worked with my hitting. This year and last year, I grew a lot. I have a lot more confidence in myself.

What is the biggest lesson you learned from this season?

Don't dwell on little mistakes. Be a duck and let it roll off your back. Staying mentally strong is the biggest lesson I learned.

— Andrew John

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