Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week for April 29, 2024

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Tuesday, April 30, 2024 | 12:34 AM


Trib HSSN softball player of the week – Mackenzie Reese

School: Hampton

Class: Senior

Position: Catcher, third base, first base

#Earned: The senior swung a big stick in four section wins that moved Hampton closer to a section championship after finishing in third place a year ago. In a Monday doubleheader sweep of Ambridge, Reese was a combined 5 for 7 with three runs scored, two RBIs, three doubles and a triple. Two days later against North Catholic, she was 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored in a 10-run victory. Finally, in a key section triumph over Montour, Reese was 1 for 2 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBIs as the Talbots remained alone in first place in Section 3-4A with a convincing win over the Spartans. A victory Wednesday at Chartiers Valley will clinch an outright section championship for Reese and the Talbots.

What coach says: “Kenzie has been a constant force in our lineup,” Hampton first-year coach Katie Hedderman said. “She’s a big hitter, and a lot of times, big hitters will swing for the fences, but she is doing a fantastic job of putting the ball in play. She has a lot of big hits, of course, but clutch singles, doubles and triples on top of the home runs. Senior night was Friday and earlier in the week, her dad went into the hospital. We had a big week of games and even with everything going on, she kept showing up and being there for her team. She found a way to channel in and focus and had a heck of a week at the plate. Luckily, her dad got to attend senior night, and I know that was so special to her. With everything going on in her life, she still put her team first and the team had her back.”

“The key is she is so channeled into every single at-bat. If you watch her on deck or in between innings, you’ll see it. She is always timing up the pitcher, focused on the little things to make the most of each at-bat. When the pressure is on, she is confident in herself and you can see that coming through. Her confidence comes from a ton of hard and focused work and passion for this game. I’ve known Kenzie since she was 8 years old, and the love she has for this game is unmatched. She has worked in her yard with her dad for countless hours over the years. We are now seeing the product of all those dad-and-daughter hitting sessions. She is seeing the rewards for the work put in and that has been so fun to watch.”

“The one thing that I love about her defense is she is willing to go 110% if it means making an out for her team. She will put her body in front of any ball and will lay out if need be. You can hear her and not only after every play but every single pitch. She finds a good balance between support and giving them a kick in the rear. She is one of the best leaders I’ve ever coached in my life. I’ve seen and coached a lot of good athletes, but an athlete that not only is good but has the ability to make everyone around her better is rare. Stepping up to the mound as a freshman pitching to a senior who is a D-1 commit would usually make someone nervous. Marissa (Snyder) seems to be the most calm and focused I’ve ever seen her when she pitches to Kenzie. She knows what Marissa needs because Kenzie is so in tune with her team and what they need from her. Her confidence is contagious, and I believe that is why Marissa is able to keep working through, even if she faces a tough inning or is getting hit.”

“She is a natural leader, but because she puts so much effort into creating a great team dynamic. Between her and Charlotte (Lomb), their leadership is what has absolutely impacted this team. They have played in this program and saw what they did well and where they needed work. They embraced the freshman as an asset to their team and it is paying off. Team dynamic is top priority for us at Hampton. We had one-on-ones with every player after tryouts and talked to Kenzie about the impact she could make for the future of the program and the importance of not only leading but teaching. I have had multiple parents say how much they appreciate the leaders on this team and how impressed they are. They support each other. With depth on the bench, not everyone gets to see the field, but we keep saying when one person wins, everybody wins.

“We celebrate each other. Even if Kenzie is having an off day, she is turning around and picking someone else up. That is what I believe makes this group special. The wins are great, but watching them have so much fun together is what is making this year one to remember.”

Background: Reese will continue her academic and softball career at Pitt this fall. Part of the reason Reese decided to stay close to home at the next level is because she wanted to be close for her family, especially her father. Reese wrote a powerful essay detailing the health scare her father Duane went through when he became seriously ill and it was discovered he needed a heart transplant in 2022 during her sophomore year. Duane Reese is a former multi-sport athlete at Northgate and underwent a recent surgery for an infection but is doing well with his new heart. Mackenzie has two older siblings who were athletes and a younger sister who plays middle school softball.

2024 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week

Week 3 – Sydney Gonglik, Bentworth

Week 2 – Lexie Hames, Seneca Valley

Week 1 – Sydney Sekely, South Park

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