Distict Colleges: Robert Morris' Siar shows star power
A baseball or softball player is having a good week when this happens: "I didn't think it was going to be a home run. I was just hoping it would drop."
That's what Robert Morris University freshman first baseman Chelsea Siar said when asked about the grand slam she smacked in a 14-0 victory Sunday against Mount St. Mary's.
She went 3 for 3, hit another home run and became the fifth player in Colonials softball history to have six RBIs in a game.
That victory clinched the Northeast Conference regular-season title for Robert Morris (25-24, 11-5).
The Colonials, the host for the conference tournament this weekend, won their opening game, 1-0, Friday against Central Connecticut State. Alexa Bryson threw a 1-hitter and struck out 13.
The two-homer contest marked the end of a remarkable week for Siar, a Shaler High School graduate. In four games, all victories, she went 6 for 9 with 9 RBIs and scored 4 runs. She hit a two-run homer in a 6-5 win at Saint Francis in Loretto, Pa., and had a double in a 4-0 win against Mount St. Mary's in the first game of the doubleheader Sunday.
That's a .667 batting average and a remarkable 1.778 slugging percentage.
She was named the NEC player of the year and rookie of the week.
Siar said she knew the first long ball she hit Sunday was out of the Colonials' North Athletic Complex field.
"It was a fastball and right down the pipe," she said. "I nailed it."
While Siar has played well this season while starting 47 of 48 games, she hadn't been hitting consistently. Going into the NEC tournament, she was hitting .265 with 6 home runs, 6 doubles, 17 RBIs and a .441 slugging percentage.
"I don't think I've ever had a week like that," said Siar, who has been playing softball since she was 12.
She said it has taken her a little while to adjust to the pitching at the NCAA Division I level. Just about every pitcher can throw a rise, a screwball and a drop-curve along with a fastball and a regular curve.
Siar has also had to deal with a position change. At Shaler, she played shortstop but has moved to first base for the Colonials.
"It's tougher because there are so many players who will slap the ball and try to beat it out," she said. "You have to be ready for that and if someone tries to bunt. Plus, I've played shortstop all my life and now the ball comes at me from a different direction."
She seems to have handled the move across the infield well, committing just four errors heading into the NEC tournament.
Siar is one of several Western Pennsylvania players on the Robert Morris team. Nine of the 16 on the roster are from the area, including pitchers Bryson, a junior from Latrobe, and Geena Badolato, a freshman from Mt. Lebanon. Jaci Timko, a junior shortstop from Chartiers-Houston, leads Robert Morris with seven home runs.
The Colonials have just two seniors -- Kayla Crooks (Brashear) and Annie Dubovec (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) -- on the roster, so the future appears bright.
Point Park University's second-year baseball coach Loren Torres has been named the American Mideast Conference coach of the year by conference coaches.
Point Park finished 38-13 overall, 14-6 in the AMC. The Pioneers were ranked No. 23 in the NAIA Baseball Coaches Top 25 poll, but, unfortunately for them, that was not good enough to qualify for the national tournament.
The Pioneers had four players named to the AMC first team. They were senior catcher Dave Angle (Pine-Richland), junior first baseman Lee Bodnar (Chartiers Valley), senior center fielder Brian Grise (Steel Valley) and junior designated hitter Zach O'Neal (Greenfield, Ind.).
Seton Hill baseball coach Marc Marizzaldi has been named the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year. Seton Hill players named to the WVIAC first team were starting pitcher Rick Raraigh (North Allegheny), relief pitcher Brian Warheit (Butler) and third baseman Tom DeAngelis (Moon)
Washington & Jefferson College senior Brad Cieslinski (Highlands) has been named to the PING Division III All-Mid-Atlantic Region team. The squad is selected by members of the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Two golfers from Carnegie Mellon University also were on the team. They are junior Terence Einhorn (Greenwich, Conn.) and freshman Ian Bangor (Sewickley Academy). Bangor led the Tartans in scoring average at 75.3. His father, Paul, won the same honors in 1985.
First Published May 14, 2011 12:00 am