2023 Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Year: Shaler’s Miguel Hugas

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Saturday, July 1, 2023 | 11:19 PM


The Strath Haven students behind the third base dugout decided to taunt Miguel Hugas with chants of “overrated.”

The Shaler senior responded with two blasts over the fence at Penn State’s ballpark, home runs that helped the Titans ultimately win the PIAA Class 5A championship game in extra innings. On one of his trips around the bases, Hugas held his hand to his ear, listening to see if they’d reconsidered.

Without a doubt, the chants fired him up.

“One hundred percent,” Hugas said later. “I felt like I had to shut them down. And I did it.”

A native of Venezuela, Hugas moved here two years ago and had an immediate impact on Shaler baseball. The standout pitcher and outfielder led the Titans to WPIAL and PIAA titles this spring, earning him the 2023 TribLive HSSN Baseball Player of the Year award.

On the mound, Hugas went 11-0 with a 0.71 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 78 innings. As a hitter, he batted .444 with five home runs, 11 doubles and 34 RBIs.

Hugas has committed to play college baseball for Alabama and might be picked in the MLB Draft.

His coach was asked: Does Miguel ever get nervous?

“Without hesitation I said: ‘No,’” Shaler coach Brian Junker said. “I think the bigger the game, the better he is. I sometimes worried about him in March, when we were playing a team that wasn’t maybe putting the pressure on us and there was hardly anyone there.”

He seemed very comfortable in the state finals.

Shaler overcame a five-run deficit to defeat Strath Haven, 9-8, in eight innings on June 15. Hugas’ second homer was part of a five-run sixth inning when Shaler rallied to tie.

The PIAA title was the Titans’ second overall and first since 1980.

“We’ve wanted this since two years ago when I got here,” Hugas said. “We finally got it.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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