High School Athletes of the Week: John Sansone of Neshannock, Natalie DiPaolo of North Hills

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John Sansone, Neshannock

Last week: Sansone helped Neshannock's baseball team continue defense of its WPIAL Class A title, putting together a three-game run that saw him go 8 for 10 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.

Check this out: Sansone, a senior outfielder, is one of the WPIAL's top players, a Florida State recruit and a potential candidate for the MLB draft. He is among WPIAL leaders in batting average (.684), RBIs (28), runs (19) and home runs (5). As a junior, Sansone led the WPIAL in hitting in the regular season and was selected to the Post-Gazette's All-Area team. Sansone was an all-section pick in basketball the past two seasons.

You have a good chance to repeat as champions because ... We've been there before, and I think we can definitely do it again.

Best pitcher you have faced? Christian Kerns from Ellwood City. He's a lefty and throws it very well.

Best player in the WPIAL? That's tough. I don't want to answer because a lot of them are my friends and I don't want to make anybody mad.

Coolest thing you did on your visit to Florida State? We went to a football game [against Louisiana-Monroe]. It was amazing. I didn't think I'd be as hyped as I was. It made me want to go out and play.

What round would you need to be drafted to sign and not go to college? I don't know if it would depend on the round, it would be something I'd have to talk about with my family. I'm not thinking about that, but it would be unreal to get drafted.

If you had a major scholarship offer for basketball, would you choose to play that sport over baseball? No. There's no way. I wouldn't want to take away the beautiful game of baseball from my life.

-- By Brad Everett

Natalie DiPaolo, North Hills

Last week: DiPaolo scored three goals as the North Hills girls lacrosse team defeated Shaler, 16-14.

Check this out: DiPaolo, a senior midfielder, leads North Hills in scoring with 48 goals. She is one of the main reasons the Indians, the defending WPIAL Division II champions, are 11-0. DiPaolo has been a starter since midway through her freshman season. But she recently pulled a hamstring and will be out of action until at least the WPIAL playoffs.

Why were you scoring more goals this year? I just felt like since it was my senior year and our team has a big reputation, I wanted to just go out and keep the team up.

How tough is it to deal with the injury? It's the worst thing that could possibly happen. It's just frustrating to sit on the sidelines, knowing you could be out there helping.

• Why is North Hills so good now in lacrosse? I think a lot of it is pretty much our whole starting varsity team has been together since day one of seventh grade when we all first started playing.

What do you need to be a good lacrosse player? You need to be quick and stay calm. It's not a contact sport, but there are going to be plays where you want to retaliate and do something, but you have to hold back.

Do you wish girls lacrosse had checking? Absolutely.

Why? Because there are just so many things that happen, and you just want to bash a girl or come back at them. But it's so easy to get a yellow card.

Two famous people you follow on Twitter? (Country singer) Brantley Gilbert and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

People might be surprised to know that ... Before games when everyone is listening to 'pump-up' music, I'm usually listening to some country love.

-- By Mike White

Athlete of the Week


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