Senior spotlight: WPIAL pitchers missed chance to whiff all-state Seneca Valley outfielder

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020 | 6:01 AM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight a WPIAL spring athlete whose senior year has been cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the last two seasons, few hitters in WPIAL softball have been a tougher out than Seneca Valley outfielder Kearson Wagner.

Last season, for instance, she hit .500 from the leadoff spot, earning all-state honors, and only struck out three times in 62 plate appearances.

Her philosophy on hitting has helped Wagner have that kind of success, and now that her senior season has been canceled, it’s probably safe to let the cat out of the bag. WPIAL pitchers, you’ve been throwing her too many first-pitch strikes.

“I’m definitely an aggressive hitter,” Wagner said. “A lot of my good hits are on the first pitch. The first pitch is usually one of the best pitches, so I usually attack. I don’t walk that much, because I’m not as patient, but I think being aggressive helps me. I don’t like to strike out. I mean, no one likes to strike out, but I definitely go in there thinking I’d rather ground out than strike out.”

What’s your best memory playing softball for Seneca Valley?

My freshman year, we beat North Allegheny to win the section. That was really exciting. I wasn’t starting my freshman year, but it was really exciting to be a part of the team. It was cool to see.

What’s your best memory as a sports fan?

Jessie Warren from Florida State, when they won a game a couple of years ago in the College World Series, dove for this crazy play at third base. She ended up going pro. She made this insane play at third base. It was all over the news, but I was watching it as it happened.

Who would you say is your school’s biggest rival?

For Seneca, it’s always North Allegheny. For softball, Hempfield is always the biggest competition.

What’s the best way to avoid boredom when stuck at home?

We’ve been going on family walks, walking our dog as a family, like a 2-mile walk. I’m going to Edinboro to play softball next fall and they’ve been sending us workouts, so doing those.

Do you have online schoolwork?

I’ve been getting pretty ahead with it. On Sunday nights, I do a lot of it, so my week is pretty easy.

Why did you pick Edinboro?

I toured Clarion and Edinboro. I knew I wanted like a Division II, medium-sized school because Seneca is so big. I was like, ‘That will be similar during college.’ I went up there and it’s so pretty and everything’s spaced out. I didn’t feel like it was crammed together. My grandparents live in Erie, so they would be close. The first time I toured, I met with the softball coach and we just clicked. He was like some of my other coaches. I felt like we could banter and go back and forth.

Do you know what you want to study?

Speech language pathology. I had job shadowing with the speech teacher at the elementary school in our district, and my mom works in mental health. Every job test I took, it gave me what my mom did, and my mom was like, “You don’t want to do that.” But occupational therapy or speech therapy, I knew I wanted to work in a school but I didn’t necessarily want to be a teacher. I shadowed the speech teacher and I really liked it. I knew I wanted to work with kids and help people, so I kind of just fell into that.

If you could pick anyone to give a commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

I’d want it to be my old travel coach (Tim Marshall). We’re still good friends. He coached me from when I was 10 up until last year. I still see him all the time. He’s one of the most motivational people. He always knows what to say at the right time.

If you were asked to give a speech, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

I know everyone says it, but it goes so fast. You don’t even realize it. I feel like I should still be a freshman. It goes quickly, so don’t take it for granted.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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