Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week: June 20, 2021
Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 10:52 PM
In 2017, when Mt. Pleasant defeated Tunkhannock, 5-3, to win the PIAA Class 4A softball championship, Courtney Poulich and her current Vikings senior teammates were in eighth grade and watching their future team win the school’s first state softball title.
Now, after beating Mid Valley to win the PIAA Class 3A championship Friday, also by a score of 5-3, the Vikings are celebrating their first sweep of WPIAL and state titles in the same year.
“Both championships are incredible achievements for our girls and are memories that will last a lifetime,” Mt. Pleasant coach and athletic director Chris Brunson said.
The Vikings week began Monday with a state semifinals rout of District 9 champion Punxsutawney.
Poulich was 2-for-3 with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs as the Vikings scored three runs in the first inning, three more in the third inning and finished the game in the fifth with seven runs in a 13-0 victory.
“The natural power that she has is impressive,” Brunson said. “She works very hard on her body to be the best player she can be.”
The victory cleared the state semifinals hurdle that haunted Poulich and the seniors, who lost in the PIAA final four as freshmen in 2018 to Punxsutawney and as sophomores in 2019 against Elizabeth Forward.
Brunson said nerves were not an issue as the team headed to Penn State to face Mid Valley in the state final Friday.
“I think the girls as a whole were as relaxed as you can be for a big game like that,” he said.
After falling behind early, Mt. Pleasant tied it with single runs in the third and fourth innings, and then a three-run fifth inning put the Vikings ahead to stay in a 5-3 triumph.
The Liberty recruit had another good day at the plate as Poulich finished with two hits in three at-bats with a RBI.
“She got pitches down that she could handle and was on time,” Brunson said.
Part of what makes the Vikings first baseman stand out on a team filled with special players is her size and her drive to improve.
“Her strength is her size and physical strength,” Brunson said. “Her work ethic also is a huge part of it. She continues to work on hitting the up pitch and not trying to do too much at the plate.”
Not only does she contribute at the plate, but Brunson said her defense has been big for the Vikings all season.
“Her defense at first base is impressive. She has a lot of range on pop-ups,” he said. “She actually will be a good outfielder because of her natural ability to break on fly balls.”
While Poulich capped off the dream season with a big week, she had several obstacles to overcome to contribute for Mt. Pleasant.
“She had an injury early in the year and being able to persevere through another injury shows the kind of leadership she has,” Brunson said. “She is a physical presence, and the girls look up to her. She leads by example in weight room and doing extra work.”
2021 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week
Week 11 – Payton List, Beaver
Week 10 – Sandra Soltes, Bethel Park
Week 9 – Jaycee Haidzee, Highlands
Week 8 – Zoe Mangan, Chartiers Valley
Week 7 – Maddie Griffin, Ligonier Valley
Week 6 – Reagan Milliken, Bethel Park
Week 5 – Olivia Zimmerman, Indiana
Week 4 – Bella Hess, Chartiers-Houston
Week 3 – Lauren Yuhas, West Mifflin
Week 2 – Kailey Larcinese, Elizabeth Forward
Week 1 – Mia Edwards, Shenango
Tags: Mt. Pleasant
More High School Softball• Legendary Hempfield softball coach Bob Kalp, 7-time WPIAL champ, retires
• George Guido: Valley’s PIAA softball title run in 2011 was worth the wait
• With postseason honors in tow, Bethel Park’s Milliken ready to embark on collegiate career
• Speed, versatility help Abby Quickel play key role for Bethel Park softball
• Mt. Pleasant softball places 3 on all-state 1st team