Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week for April 26, 2021
Monday, April 26, 2021 | 10:28 PM
There is nothing lucky about coming to bat 19 times in a week and reaching base 18 times. That is the mark of a good hitter, a very good hitter.
That is what Chartiers-Houston senior Bella Hess produced in four games last week. Based on her season to date, Hess has to be considered one of the most productive hitters in the WPIAL.
“She definitely should be in that conversation,” Chartiers-Houston coach Tricia Alderson said. “Just look at her numbers and all of the weapons she possesses.”
In the Bucs’ four games last week, Hess was 13 for 18 with a double, triple and home run. She scored 13 runs and drove in six. In addition to her 13 hits, she was walked once, reached on a fielder’s choice and reached on three errors.
The big week began for Hess on Monday and Tuesday when the Buccaneers defeated South Side in a nonsection game and Carlynton in a section contest by a combined score of 31-8.
“Bella is our leadoff hitter, and she knows her job is to get on base, which she consistently did all week,” Alderson said. “Good things happen when she is on base. What also stood out this past week is the power she is starting to develop to go along with the other aspects of her game where she can use her speed.”
The victory over Carlynton moved the Bucs into third place in Section 1-2A and set up a section showdown with second-place Burgettstown on Thursday.
“Bella was 4 for 4 against Burgettstown and also drew a walk. Any time you can get your leadoff hitter on for all five plate appearances, that is key to scoring runs and winning ballgames,” Alderson said. “She came through both offensively and defensively in that important section game in some pressure situations.”
With a big 9-5 road victory, the Bucs pulled to within a game of the Blue Devils.
The next day, Chartiers-Houston saw its three-game win streak end with a nonsection loss to Class 5A power South Fayette. Hess went 3 for 4 in a 7-6 loss to the Lions.
“Bella continued to be a tough out for South Fayette throughout the game,” Alderson said. “She was able to again use her speed and power by hitting a triple and scoring three runs. We came up just short in the game, but she once again did an outstanding job at the plate and in the field.”
Alderson made it clear that Hess is not only outstanding in the batter’s box, she is very good with the glove out in center field.
“Bella is an excellent center fielder,” Alderson said. “She covers a lot of ground out there and has improved her arm strength and speed of release since her freshman year. She has had to play several different positions this year, and she has handled it all quite well.”
Including in the circle, where Alderson said Hess has helped out when called upon.
“Bella has done a great job on the mound for us when we have needed her,” she said. “She is 1-1. We have had some weeks where we have had four or five games in a row, so she has stepped in to pitch some innings and has done well. We are very fortunate to have that option when needed even though that is not her primary position.”
So with four section games left, the Buccaneers are in a good position to once again make the postseason with a very young team.
“Our team has been through a lot this season. We only have two returning starters from 2019 with Bella being one of them, so losing the 2020 season was very tough on us,” Alderson said. “Due to covid, we only had two weeks of preseason workouts, and we also did not have a spring training trip this year, which set us back. Lastly, we were missing some starters the week we went 1-3 with losses to McGuffey, Fort Cherry and Burgettstown.
“Despite all of the obstacles, the girls continue to work very hard, and we are just trying to get better every day. This past week we saw some real improvements, and the team is really starting to come together. We have a lot of section games remaining and a tough nonsection schedule as well. We are looking forward to continuing to compete and improve. We hope it will all pay off with a playoff spot, and then anything can happen.”
2021 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week
Week 3 – Lauren Yuhas, West Mifflin
Week 2 – Kailey Larcinese, Elizabeth Forward
Week 1 – Mia Edwards, Shenango
More High School Softball• What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 11, 2021: Baseball, softball showdowns at crunch time
• High school roundup for May 10, 2021: New Castle pitcher throws no-hitter but loses to Blackhawk, 1-0
• WPIAL clinched for May 10, 2021: Softball teams still fighting for playoff berths
• Greensburg Central Catholic to play three-and-a-half section games in two days
• Hempfield defeats Canon-McMillan in possible playoff preview