Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week for week ending April 18, 2021
Monday, April 19, 2021 | 10:11 PM
West Mifflin senior Lauren Yuhas was 8 for 10 in three games last week, with three home runs, eight RBIs and six runs scored.
Some would call that outstanding. For one of the top hitters in the WPIAL, Yuhas calls it another week at the office.
“Absolutely,” West Mifflin coach Erik Hilligsberg said of the Ohio University recruit. “She gets the most out of every single plate appearance that she has. It isn’t by accident either. She puts a lot of time in working on her hitting. Her work ethic is second to none.”
West Mifflin started the week 4-0 overall and picked up a pair of section wins Tuesday and Wednesday when it beat Uniontown and Laurel Highlands by a combined score of 29-3.
“Lauren has always been a very good player since she entered high school, but in the past year or so she really has taken her entire game to a totally different level,” Hilligsberg said. “Stats aside, what has stood out so far about Lauren is how difficult she is to get out. She is so competitive and fights to win every single pitch in every single at-bat. There have been numerous at-bats so far this season where she has fouled off multiple pitches, frustrated the pitcher, then lined the ball into the gap or hit it over the fence for a home run.”
On a frosty Friday, West Mifflin tasted defeat for the first time when it lost to defending champion Elizabeth Forward and the Trib HSSN Week 2 softball Player of the Week, Kailey Larcinese. Despite the loss, Yuhas collected two more hits and smacked a solo home run in the third inning that at the time, tied the game at 2-2.
“That really was a fun matchup to watch,” Hilligsberg said. “Kailey is such a fierce competitor too and one of the best pitchers in the WPIAL. Lauren was really looking forward to and anticipating that matchup. Lauren was definitely a catalyst for us that game, going 2 for 2 with two walks, three runs scored, and a home run. Even more impressive to me was how Lauren stepped up to be a vocal leader during that EF game.”
Leadership is not in question for Yuhas and some of her fellow seniors in Allyssa Schmidt, Brooke Plunko, Emma MacKulin and Sam Hohman as Hilligsberg found out earlier this season.
“It started in the Baldwin game, and it was great to see. We were losing 4-3 to Baldwin in the bottom of the sixth inning, when our seniors huddled the girls together to talk to them,” he said. “They then erupted for nine runs in that inning and we went onto win the game 12-4. I made it a point to specifically let them know how proud I was of them for taking on that type of a leadership role within the team. Our younger players really look up to our seniors.”
Yuhas’ athleticism not only makes her special at the plate, but she is an outstanding shortstop in the field as well.
Hilligsberg believes with the combination of skill and work ethic, the sky is the limit for Yuhas, both this year and beyond.
“Her work ethic is second to none,” he said. “The kid works year round. From speed training to hitting to conditioning, she puts the time in to elevate her game to the level it’s at now. For as hard as she works and as serious as she takes her craft, she still is one of the most vivacious and happy-go-lucky players at practice.
“I will really miss having her and the other seniors around next year. If she keeps the same work ethic that she currently has, there is no doubt in my mind that she will continue to elevate as a player and have a successful four year career at Ohio U.”
For now, Yuhas and West Mifflin look to get back on the winning track as they prepare for a nonsection game against Thomas Jefferson, followed by section contests against Belle Vernon and Ringgold this week.
“We are a very solid team in all facets of the game this year,” Hilligsberg said. “I really like this group of players. We just aren’t a particularly deep team this year. If we are able to stay process-oriented and checkmark our game goals, we should give ourselves an opportunity to be successful in the tightly played games. Some of the best teams in 4A are in our section though, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of this season plays out.”
2021 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week
Week 2 – Kailey Larcinese, Elizabeth Forward
Week 1 – Mia Edwards, Shenango
Tags: West Mifflin
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