A-K Valley athletes of the week: Kiski Area’s Hannah Simpson, Highlands’ Jimmy Kunst

Saturday, April 23, 2022 | 3:54 PM

Hannah Simpson

Class: Junior

School: Kiski Area

Sport: Softball

Report card: Kiski Area broke out the bats Wednesday afternoon to take down Indiana in a Section 1-5A game. Junior pitcher Hannah Simpson was 3 for 4 with five RBIs to help lead the offensive attack. The Seton Hill commit earned honorable mention all-section honors last season and has been a key contributor in guiding the Cavaliers to a 4-4 record, 4-2 in section play.

How did the team play against Indiana on Wednesday?

We definitely hit better than we have in past games. I fell like we turned it on that game. We played pretty good defense.

How did it feel to drive in so many runs and contribute at the plate like that?

It was definitely nice to have a positive impact on the game and know that I impacted our score.

How have you been pitching this season?

I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well. My movement has been working nicely. I’m definitely more of a movement pitcher.

What is your mentality in the circle?

I try to throw batters off guard. I rely on my movement pitches. I think that throws a lot of people off, and people underestimate me.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

I feel like we have a pretty good chance of making playoffs and doing well.

What made you decide on attending Seton Hill?

I like how it’s close to home. I’m pretty sure I’m going to into their (physician’s assistant) program. It’s a very nice program.

Who is the funniest member of the team?

Ashlee Bair. She is one of our seniors and is always making a positive atmosphere. If someone makes a mistake, she makes it easy to come back off it.

Jimmy Kunst

Class: Junior

School: Highlands

Sport: Baseball

Report card: Highlands junior Jimmy Kunst laced a line drive to right field to score the winning run Wednesday in a 2-1 walk-off victory over Burrell. It was another strong performance for the Golden Rams, who improved to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in Section 1-4A on Friday with a 5-0 win over the rival Bucs. Also 1,000-point scorer in basketball, Kunst averaged a team-best 20.9 points and helped Highlands finish 19-8 and reach the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals.

What was it like to hit that walk-off in extra innings Wednesday?

It felt really good. We played well as a team the whole game but couldn’t put anything together. Getting that last hit was really exciting.

How has the team been playing recently?

I thought we’ve been playing pretty good. We had some mental mistakes here and there. But we’re coming together. Each game we’re getting better and better. These past couple games are showing what we’re really like as a team.

What is your role on this team?

Just do a little bit of everything, the little things. Just score runs. Come in when I need to pitching-wise. Make plays in the field, not try and do too much.

What are the team’s goals for the rest of the season?

The main one is to win a WPIAL championship. Short-term is to win the next few section games so we can accomplish that WPIAL goal.

Which sport do you prefer, basketball or baseball?

If I could play both going forward … I couldn’t pick. It just depends on the season. I kinda like them equal.

How did you get started in baseball?

I started in the Natrona Heights League when I was 5. I just went up through that program. I didn’t start travel baseball until I was 10 or 11.

Have you started making any plans for college?

Last summer, some baseball schools started reaching out. I’m taking it slow. I want to see what basketball schools are looking at me. I have to decide what sport I want to play, what position I want to play.

What do you want to study?

Something in the medical field. I’m still trying to figure it out.

What is something people might not know about you?

I’m top 10 in my class academic-wise. Some people might not know about that.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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