Jared Skolnicki, Keystone Oaks
This week: Skolnicki pitched a no-hitter and struck out 11 Monday as Keystone Oaks defeated Slippery Rock, 4-0, in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs. It was the first PIAA win in Keystone Oaks history.
Check this out: A 6-foot-2, 170-pound senior left-hander, Skolnicki (10-1) has allowed four runs (three earned), and his ERA is 0.30. He has struck out 104 in 69 innings and also is hitting .410. He will play next season at Kent State. Skolnicki, a four-year starter in basketball, missed his entire junior baseball season with a knee injury. He has a 4.0 grade point average.
• The last time you pitched a no-hitter? That was the first time. I always came close. I had two one-hitters this year, but I've never been able to get no-hitters even when I was little.
• This is probably the greatest season in Keystone Oaks baseball history. Why the sudden success? We had a lot more talent than usual this year. I think the leadership and attitude is just different this year, too. We know we can win and we have good team chemistry.
• Do you wish you were pitching today against [undefeated] South Park? Absolutely. That's the kind of person I am. But Taylor Lehman beat Chartiers Valley in the WPIAL playoffs, so we have confidence in him.
• Do you care who wins the NBA? Yeah, I'm a big LeBron James fan. I just like his attitude and the kind of person he is. I'm rooting for the Heat.
• It's a Saturday night. What do kids in Green Tree or Dormont do for fun? They go to Wiggy's for wings or Fiori's for pizza.
• People might be surprised to know you ... Can solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded.
• No way! This is true. I've done it. I used to have a video of it on YouTube, but I was kind of embarrassed by it, so I took it down.
-- By Mike White
Kirsten Wilson, Riverside
This week: Wilson threw a perfect game and hit two homers to lead WPIAL champion Riverside to a 6-0 win Monday against Curwensville in a PIAA Class AA first-round playoff game.
Check this out: Wilson, a senior, has been dominant for Riverside, the only remaining undefeated team from the WPIAL. Wilson is 20-0 with 237 strikeouts and is hitting better than .560 with six home runs and 20 RBIs. She pitched a three-hitter in the WPIAL final, this after tossing a perfect game and no-hitter earlier in the playoffs. She has given up one run in the past 13 games. Wilson will attend Bloomfield College, a Division II school in northern New Jersey.
• What did it mean to win a WPIAL championship? It meant everything. I'm going to college and I wanted to go out with a bang. I couldn't do it with a better group of girls.
• Have you ever been asked for an autograph? Besides my grandpa? (Laughs) No.
• We hear one of your home runs against Curwensville went really far. Is that true? Yeah, that one went over the scoreboard.
• Favorite field you've played on? I like North Allegheny's.
• Complete this sentence: [Riverside] coach [Pam] McCarty is ... amazing.
• Have you ever pitched against baseball players? Well, I have a bet going right now with one of the baseball players, Ross Maietta. Coach said not until after the season. So after the season, we'll do it.
• What's the bet? He said he could hit a home run off me.
• Happy or sad to have graduated? It's mixed feelings. I'm sad to lose our team. It's the last time I'll get to play with [senior catcher] Nicole Mansfield. But I'm happy to go to college and start a new chapter.
• An influential person in your softball career? I give all the credit in the world to my dad.
-- By Brad Everett