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

Sunday, June 11, 2023 | 4:07 PM

Following a second straight WPIAL Class A softball championship win the previous week, Union did not start the PIAA playoffs as planned.

Two walks, a triple, a passed ball and a wild pitch helped Berlin-Brothersvalley jump out to a quick 3-0 lead after a half-inning.

“I feel like in the first inning, I have to get the nerves out sometimes, and that was one of those games,” Union pitcher Mia Preuhs said. “But I knew we would be able to hit and make up for all the mistakes I made on the field.”

Make up for it indeed. The Scotties scored four runs in their half of the first inning, two runs in the second, five runs in the third and then ended the game early with seven runs in the fourth inning in a convincing 18-3 win over the Mountaineers.

“All around, I did pretty well in that game,” Preuhs said. “I don’t know how many strikeouts I had, but I don’t think they had that many hits after the first inning. I think I helped my team out a lot, especially with the grand slam I hit. I haven’t been hitting that much, but I think that helped the team out a lot.”

In the circle, the sophomore allowed only that one hit in the first inning while striking out six in four innings.

At the plate, Preuhs walked twice, doubled and hit a grand slam that helped kick in the 15-run mercy rule.

“She just had to adjust,” Union coach Doug Fisher said of Preuhs’ rough start in the circle.

What about her big day at the plate?

“She is a pure hitter. Don’t ever doubt her,” Fisher said.

Union moved on to the PIAA quarterfinals to face District 6 runner-up West Branch. The Warriors scored 18 runs in the state first-round victory over District 9 runner-up Elk County Catholic.

West Branch scored twice in the third inning, but Union answered with four runs in the fourth inning and one more in the fifth to earn its 19th win of the season, 5-2.

“The changeup was really working against West Branch,” Preuhs said. “You could hear all the fans in the stands saying, ‘Watch the changeup. Watch the changeup.’ Then I would throw it, and they still couldn’t really hit it. My rise ball was working, too, as they were chasing the high ones.”

Preuhs allowed only four hits while striking out 17 in the victory.

“Her change of speed with consistency puts her a step above the rest,” Fisher said.

People started to take notice of Preuhs when she was very young and threw a jump rope at her sister. Since then, she has worked hard at her craft, especially in the changing of her pitch speeds.

“There are a bunch of different changeups you can have, but I really have one main one that I throw,” Preuhs said. “This year, toward the end of the regular season and into the WPIAL playoffs, it’s been really dominant. I worked on it a lot last summer, but it takes some time to perfect.”

Union is now set to face District 6 champion Claysburg-Kimmel (22-3) in the PIAA semifinals Monday at Norwin at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs already have eliminated WPIAL teams Frazier and Chartiers-Houston in the first two rounds of the PIAA postseason.

“I really haven’t even looked at them,” Fisher said. “My theory always is they put their uniform on every game day just like we do, so anyone can be beaten.”

2023 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week

Week 9 – Alivia Lantzy, Avonworth

Week 8 – Kaitlyn Molitoris, Montour

Week 7 – Bethany Rodman, Shaler

Week 6 – Lexie Hames, Seneca Valley

Week 5 – Caroline Malandra, Serra Catholic

Week 4 Shelby Telegdy , Elizabeth Forward

Week 3 – Ella Richey, Chartiers-Houston

Week 2 – Shaylyn Shall, Western Beaver

Week 1 – Olivia Zimmerman, Indiana


More High School Sports

Track teams highlight year filled with championship gold at Quaker Valley
Sophomore golfer eager for return of Sewickley Academy girls team for 2024 season
Signal Item notebook: Chartiers Valley football to open season Aug. 23
After school’s 1st girls state title, Thomas Jefferson softball has summer to celebrate
Adventurous Baldwin softball alum to spend year in Thailand