Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Week for June 11, 2023

Sunday, June 11, 2023 | 3:28 PM

Shaler senior Miguel Hugas was hesitant when he learned he was moving to the United States to go to high school at Shaler. However, he has no regrets now. Nor do his Titans teammates.

“At the beginning, I didn’t want to come here. I wanted to play in Venezuela,” Hugas said. “But when I came here, I knew it was a good decision.”

The pride of Caracas is now the toast of the town at Shaler.

Hugas hopes to follow in his cousin footsteps. Brian Rincon also came with Hugas from Venezuela to Shaler in 2021 and was drafted last summer by the Philadelphia Phillies.

A University of Alabama recruit, Hugas is expected to be drafted next month.

For now, Hugas wants to add to his collection of gold.

The senior right-hander led the Titans to a WPIAL championship by throwing a complete game five-hitter in the finals against Bethel Park, allowing one run and one walk while striking out eight and driving in two runs in the 10-1 win.

Pitching in front of a near-sellout crowd a Wild Things Park and with his family and friends watching on Trib HSSN did not faze the young man.

Asked if he was nervous, he quickly said, “No, not at all.”

“I think the bigger the game, the better he is,” Shaler coach Brian Junker said. “I sometimes worried about him in March when we were playing a team that wasn’t putting any pressure on us and there’s hardly anybody there. But as it gets hotter and more fans are there, I feel like he plays better.”

Six days after his golden performance in the district championship game, Hugas got the start in the PIAA first round against Muhlenberg.

The Titans ace struggled and was unable to perform to his lofty standards.

“I kind of knew (he didn’t have his best stuff) early on, but I was like, ‘I’m going to get it as the game goes,’” Hugas said. “But it didn’t happen, so coach asked me what I thought about him taking me out, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I think it’s a good idea,’ because I didn’t have my best stuff. Plus, I trust Colby Weber, and I knew he would do well.”

Hugas threw less than 50 pitches before giving way to Weber, who got the win in relief.

Trailing the Muhls 1-0, the Titans rallied for seven runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to win, 7-1.

While Hugas wasn’t at his best on the mound, he made up for it with his bat. He had two hits, including a double, and four RBIs.

Junker turned to Hugas again three days later in the quarterfinals against Penn-Trafford. He was hoping to get three innings out of Hugas, and instead, Hugas pitched a complete-game five-hitter, allowing one run, two walks, a hit batter and six strikeouts as the Titans prevailed, 4-1.

“The goal was to let him go out there and throw three innings and see if he has it or he doesn’t,” Junker said. “He had it. His pitch count was low. We kept asking him how he feels and he was cruising. Miguel put the team on his shoulders and we rode him.”

Junker hasn’t made a decision yet on which horse the Titans will ride at the starting gates Monday when the team heads to Hershey to face District 12 champion Monsignor Bonner.

“I’m going to learn more about that team (Friars) and then finalize the game plan,” Junker said. “Miggy says he has no soreness and his arm feels great, so we have options. We’re going to do what’s best to win this game.”

2023 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week

Week 9 – David Shields, Mt. Lebanon

Week 8 – Evan Holewinski, Bethel Park

Week 7 – Ty Eberhardt, Hopewell

Week 6 – Colin Watson, Plum

Week 5 – Andrew Hart, North Allegheny

Week 4 – Frank Kula, Laurel Highlands

Week 3 – Mason Horwat, Avonworth

Week 2 – Zane Griffaton, West Mifflin

Week 1 – Ryan Opfer, Chartiers-Houston


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