Belle Vernon softball standout Maren Metikosh makes Division I college choice

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 | 6:54 PM

One of the top softball players in the WPIAL has found her new home.

Belle Vernon’s Maren Metikosh made a verbal commitment Tuesday to continue her academic and softball careers at Division I Central Connecticut State University.

Metikosh, who is entering her senior year at Belle Vernon, will play for veteran Blue Devils coach Breanne Gleason.

“This opportunity is breathtaking,” Metikosh said. “Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to play softball at the next level. Knowing that I have the chance now to play at the collegiate level is unbelievable.

“The fact that I have fulfilled my dream makes me proud. I love this game and have worked hard at being the best that I can be at it for a very long time.”

Metikosh had other opportunities to play ball at every collegiate level.

For her, CCSU stood out because of the “home away from home” feeling.

“CCSU fit that description perfectly,” she said. “The campus is beautiful with new and even vintage buildings in a picturesque country setting that is still close enough to a few big cities if I would want to venture out for that city vibe. I was super excited about the athletic facilities and dorms, which are relatively brand new, some of the nicest that I have seen. Plus, the school has both of the academic areas of interest that I wish to study with psychology and business.

“When I had my visit, I knew that nothing was going to top this school for me. Once I left the campus, I called my father and jokingly said, ‘What if I told you I just committed?’ By taking my visit, it definitely made my decision so much easier.”

Metikosh is coming off an impressive junior campaign with the Leopards, who won 12 games and advanced to the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals.

She earned all-state honors and was selected as the Class 4A Player of the Year by the Pa. High School Softball Coaches Association after hitting .557 with five home runs and 32 RBIs.

Metikosh had more extra base hits (21) than singles and compiled a .622 on-base percentage and 1.029 slugging percentage.

Perhaps the biggest key to Metikosh’s success was the fact that she consistently put the ball in play. In 83 plate appearances, she struck out just three times.

“Central Connecticut State is getting a player that works hard, even when no one is watching, and is determined to play to the best of their ability at all times,” Metikosh said. “I am my own worst critic, but I use it to push myself to do better next time. I am the type of person that cheers for others, wants everyone to have fun and be happy with themselves, so CCSU is not only getting a dedicated softball player, but the cheerleader in me as well.”

Metikosh described her recruiting process as being both slow and nerve-wracking.

The covid-19 pandemic really put a damper on things as Metikosh lost out on playing her freshman season in 2020.

“Coaches paid very little attention to me during the offseason last year, but once school ball began this past spring, more college coaches saw my name on their twitter feeds,” Metikosh said. “After having a successful high school season, more coaches were reaching out and inviting me to attend their campus to get a feel for how I play and my academic interests.”

After showcasing her skills as a legitimate offensive force this past spring, Metikosh benefitted from playing for her Ohio Outlaws National travel team this summer.

“My travel team and our coaches are huge fan favorites of the college coaches,” she explained. “After this summer with the Outlaws, there were many coaches who reached out to me and tried to see where I was with recruiting. Some of the schools that normally watch my team were done with their 2023 class, so they would reach out to other college coaches looking to see if they needed a player like me. This summer was definitely where I was exposed to some of the best eyes and opportunities possible.”

Metikosh was able to get to know some of her future CCSU coaches as they attended her games with the Outlaws.

Through in-person and phone conversations, she quickly knew she was interacting with genuinely good people, ones she would be proud to work with.

“You could tell that they were being themselves and not putting on an act. They are very comfortable to be around and have actually been at CCSU for a long time,” Metikosh said. “I like when coaches are being themselves because then it gives you a better feel of what to expect from their coaching style.”

Making a final decision wasn’t easy for Metikosh.

But she’s thankful for the opportunity and grateful for those who helped her achieve it.

“I am grateful to my parents and my coaches for supporting me during this process, for the countless hours of traveling the country, for helping me weigh my options and for believing in me always, even when others may not have,” she said. “Although my decision was tough, I feel a huge amount of relief that this process is over and look forward to working out during the offseason, playing for fun during my senior season and enjoying my last season of travel ball.

“I have had great experiences and opportunities, yet even better memories were made throughout my years of playing softball. Travel ball can be very cutthroat, but I can honestly say that I have met some really awesome families and made some incredible friends along the way. I am hopeful and confident this will continue at CCSU.”

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