Tyler Smith, Penn-Trafford
This week: Smith pitched a two-hitter with eight strikeouts Monday and also went 3 for 3 with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs in a 12-0 victory against Connellsville.
Check this out: Smith is one of the top players in the WPIAL. A 6-foot, 230-pound senior, he is 5-2 as a pitcher with a 1.47 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 38 innings. Smith plays third base when he doesn’t pitch and has a .560 batting average (28 for 50). He is 10-3 as a pitcher over the past two seasons and has helped Penn-Trafford to a 10-3 record this season.
College talk: Smith will play at Canisius, an NCAA Division I college in Buffalo, N.Y.
•You had some arm problems at the end of 2013 season. How is the arm now? It feels great. Honestly, it feels better than it did before I had the problems last year.
•Have you always been a good hitter, too? Typically, yes. But not to the level I am this year. I don’t want to say it’s a fluke because I hope it continues.
•What gets you more pumped, a home run or striking out the side? Definitely a home run because it doesn’t happen much.
•This Penn-Trafford team is … ? Incredible. I’d have to say that. I have never played with a better group of guys and I have never played with a group of guys that had so much talent.
•The Pirates need … ? To hit.
•Are you going to the prom? Yes.
•Any crazy way you asked your date to the prom? I was going to light a bunch of candles on the back patio of my dad’s house to ask her, but the wind didn’t help me out. So I was able to light a bunch of little fireworks that shoot showers of sparks and I asked her that way. It ended up working well actually.
•People might be surprised to know … ? I’m completely clueless about electronics. My brother puts me to shame when it comes to working a computer. I even have trouble with stupid little things like uploading an image.
Paige Flore, West Mifflin
Last week: Flore was the winning pitcher and struck out 15 in helping West Mifflin come from behind to beat Elizabeth Forward, 6-4, last week.
Check this out: Flore, a senior, is the driving force for West Mifflin (12-2, 7-2), which is seeking its second Class AAA Section 3 title in a row after not having made the playoffs in 15 years. Flore is among the WPIAL leaders in wins (11) and strikeouts (117), and boasts a 0.94 ERA. She also is hitting .362 with a team-high 15 runs scored. Flore, a Slippery Rock recruit, has struck out at least 14 batters three times. She pitched a complete game with 16 strikeouts — throwing 199 pitches — in an 8-7, 14-inning win April 10 against Thomas Jefferson. Flore also was a starter on the West Mifflin basketball team that reached the WPIAL semifinals.
•Why has your team had so much success the past two seasons? A lot of hard work in the offseason. We’ve come together as a team. We have only one goal. We get along real well. We know that we have to play our roles in order to reach our goal.
•How big of a goal is winning a WPIAL title? It’s No. 1 on the list. Winning back-to-back section titles is important to us, but winning a WPIAL title is No. 1.
•The 14-inning game where you threw 199 pitches … how tired were you? I was exhausted. And that was my fourth day pitching in a row.
•Best player in the WPIAL, not including anyone on your team? I would say Olivia Gray from Trinity.
•More excited or nervous that you will be graduating soon? I would say more excited. I’m not really nervous. I’m excited to continue my career at Slippery Rock University. I’m a little nervous to be graduating, but happy to take the next step.
•Favorite ride at Kennywood? The Music Express.
•Favorite celebrity to follow on Twitter? Neil Walker. He’s my favorite baseball player.
•Most people might be surprised to know that … My cousin (1996 Baldwin graduate Jen Flynn Oldenburg) is in the WPIAL Hall of Fame and played volleyball at Ohio State.