Rising star Brendan McKay of the Tampa Bay Rays talks winning WPIAL gold, the coach opponents love to hate

Monday, June 1, 2020 | 4:29 PM

Trib HSSN has been fortunate to cover a lot of great athletes these last two decades. While the “Best of the Century” contest continues, we now feature some of the brightest high school stars from the last two decades twice a week on Monday and Thursday on the Rebel Yell podcast.

Don’t call Brendan McKay one of the best “pitchers” to come out of the WPIAL. He wants to be known as a baseball “player” who enjoys hitting the ball as much as he does throwing it.

However, pitching is his bread and butter and what he shined at in high school.

At Blackhawk, McKay ended up going 29-2 in his career, with one of the losses coming in the 2014 WPIAL Class AAA championship game against West Allegheny. It was in that game that McKay also saw the end of his WPIAL and PIAA 72⅓-inning scoreless streak.

But he and the Cougars did win WPIAL gold his sophomore season in 2012.

“We had a lot of good upperclassmen, seniors and juniors that really wanted to do something special,” McKay said. “Come postseason time, everybody said we were going to win that game, no matter what.”

McKay started all four years for Bob Amalia’s baseball program at Blackhawk. McKay said it’s easy to see why Amalia is so successful.

“He’s one of the coaches you hate to play against because of how passionate he is about the game and he does a lot of antics, but he’s a guy you want to play for,” McKay said. “He really cares about his kids.”

After a successful career at the plate and on the mound in college at Louisville, McKay is now pitching — and he hopes DHing — for the Tampa Bay Rays.

He was one of 32 athletes in HSSN’s Best of the Century contest and he took time to talk to us about his scholastic career. Watch and listen to the conversation here.


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