A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Leechburg’s Laney Aul

Monday, April 1, 2024 | 12:15 PM

Laney Aul is a key player for the Leechburg softball team, but that’s just a small part of her story.

Aul has maintained a 4.1 GPA and participated in the Leechburg Clean-Up Day, singing to the elderly and helping with the ASA Softball team for younger kids.

“She’s an extremely caring individual,” Leechburg softball coach Larry Troutman said. “She does a lot for and wants to give back to the Leechburg community.”

Said Aul: “It’s heartwarming to do something nice for the community. It’s also a time for us to learn about and respect one another.”

Aul’s opportunity to assist with ASA Softball has helped her become a more well-rounded player for Leechburg, where she plays a solid second base.

Last season, Aul had some struggles at the plate. She put in work in the offseason and was aided by a coach from the ASA team who helped boost her hitting.

“She takes a lot of pride in her hitting,” Troutman said. “She introduced some weight training in the offseason, and she’s a little bit faster and stronger.”

Added Aul: “One of the coaches, who also coaches on the high school team, gave me some tips and tricks to better my swing. I feel like it’s paid off. I’ve hit the ball better than I did last year. I feel like I have more power and confidence.”

Even though Aul might have needed a confidence boost at the plate, Troutman said she plays strong defensively and brings a stability to the infield.

“Laney knows what she’s doing, knows where to go with the ball,” Troutman said. “She truly cares about her performance. Very few mistakes, very few errors. She never misses a practice or an open gym, doesn’t shortcut a drill and has an impressive work ethic.”

All of Aul’s experience playing softball, assisting with youth softball and leading by example lends itself to her passing along advice to her teammates.

“I’m not a very confident person,” Aul said. “Even though I have a lot of playing experience, I don’t want to steer the players in the wrong direction.”

Whether she knows it or not, Aul’s contributions, no matter how big or small they might be, on the field and off have not gone unnoticed by the people who come in contact with her every day.

“She makes everyone around her better,” Troutman said. “She’s going to do great things in life. She’s one of the nicest human beings we’ve ever been around.”

Aul took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q & A:

When did you start playing softball?

I started when I was in fourth grade with ASA softball. I remember watching the game and becoming very interested in the game and the social aspect of it.

What are your thoughts on the tough nonsection schedule the team has been playing the last couple of years?

It’s good for us to be able to challenge ourselves and make ourselves better. It also provides us with the ability to learn from mistakes we make in the field. It helps us learn to get better for the next game.

How important is the softball’s 36-year streak of making the WPIAL playoffs?

It’s something that’s very big in Leechburg. It’s important to keep that record, knowing how well we do and how well we train to be able to add another year to the streak.

Do you or your teammates feel any pressure to continue the streak?

We think about it, but we don’t dwell on it constantly. We just focus on our section, the season and just take things one game at a time. If we make it another year, that’s great, but if we don’t, that’s OK.

College plans?

I’m committed to Slippery Rock University, and I will study to become a physician’s assistant.

What led you to pick Slippery Rock?

When I first toured there, I liked the feeling of it. It seemed very open and friendly, just a good environment. The dorms were nice, and all the people there seemed very nice.

Favorite high school memory so far?

Making memories along the way with my friends. Growing up with people I’ve know since elementary school and how we’ve all changed.

One piece of advice you would want to leave your teammates before graduating?

Don’t stress too much. There will always be things you worry about and there are things that you really don’t need to stress over. Focus on the bigger picture in front of you.


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