Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Week for May 10, 2021

Monday, May 10, 2021 | 10:39 PM

Playing in his first varsity high school baseball season, sophomore Spencer Barnett is either tied or in second place behind junior Cole Young for the lead in most of North Allegheny’s offensive categories.

A memorable two games last week against rival Pine-Richland clinched the Section 1-6A title outright for the Tigers.

“He swings the bat the way you want players to swing it,” North Allegheny coach Andrew Heck said. “Always looking to learn and develop. He has a great ability as a young man to buy in and trust a plan, which is something that you don’t often see at a young age.”

On Wednesday, North Allegheny faced a desperate Pine-Richland team that needed a sweep to qualify for the postseason.

“He didn’t take his first two at-bats with him forward mentally in the game,” Heck said. “First at-bat, he strikes out. Second AB, he pops up to second.”

In his third at-bat in the fifth inning and with the Tigers down, 6-2, Barnett launched a game-changing three-run homer that pulled NA to within one run.

In the sixth inning, senior Danny Gallon and Barnett hit back-to-back home runs as North Allegheny held on for a dramatic 8-7 victory.

The home runs were the fourth and fifth of the season for Barnett.

The next day at home, Barnett went 2 for 3 with a double as the Tigers cruised to an 8-1 triumph over the Rams.

“He is growing as a hitter,” Heck said. “It’s easy for young kids to fall in love with the home run and then they don’t take a good approach and plan at the plate. He is taking what teams are giving him rather than chasing.”

In Thursday’s game, Barnett also came in and pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

“We have kept him fresh,” Heck said. “It’s time to get him more work and ready for playoffs. We as a coaching staff think very highly of him on the mound.”

They also think highly of his defense at second base.

“He looks more and more comfortable in the field as the season continues,” Heck said. “He has always played shortstop, so second is a little different, even more so when you have a little nerves and high emotion early in a high school season. He is always working on something. Between double play feed and double play foot work, and the slow roller off-balance play for a second baseman, those just a few things he has asked to work on.”

The two wins over Pine-Richland closed out section play and improved the Tigers to 15-2 for the season. Entering the final week of the regular season, North Allegheny has won five straight and 13 of its last 14 games.

“I love every part of this team,” Heck said. “We have some players that are known and were expected to play well. They have kept their head down and gone out there on a mission. We also have guys who people outside our program maybe didn’t know about. While we were very high on them and were expecting them to do some big things, they went out there and performed.

“We are going to go out there and play our game. We have put ourselves in a great position during the regular season. Now we need to go prove it in the postseason. It won’t be easy, but we are prepared and looking forward to it. High school baseball is single-elimination playoffs, so laser focus on that game is so important.”

2021 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week

Week 5 – Louie Kegerreis, Franklin Regional

Week 4 – Drew Lafferty and Austin Lafferty, South Park

Week 3 – Payton Conti, California

Week 2 – Jake Slazinski, Keystone Oaks

Week 1 – Jake Walker, West Mifflin


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