Trib HSSN Top 20 Stories of 2020: West Allegheny slugger sees red

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Thursday, December 24, 2020 | 4:40 PM


The most unique year in our lifetime is coming to an end. With so many mass starts and stops, highs and lows, just about all walks of life were affected by the coronavirus in 2020.

High school sports were no different. The first two and a half months of the year were carefree and business as usual. Then the final nine and a half months were greatly affected by the pandemic, whether scholastic contests were played or not.

Trib HSSN will close out the year with a daily countdown and a look back at the top 20 WPIAL stories from the year 2020.

No. 10 – West A slugger drafted

No 2020 baseball season, no problem for one district player. Despite missing his senior season, he achieved every baseball player’s dream in being selected in the first round of annual MLB draft.

West Allegheny’s Austin Hendrick opened up enough eyes his first three years in an Indians uniform, plus AAU and national showcases during his scholastic career, to become Cincinnati’s top draft pick.

The Reds selected the 6-foot-1, 205-pound outfielder with the 12th overall pick.

Hendrick became the third WPIAL player in the last five years to be drafted in the first round of the MLB draft. He joined an exclusive club of six other district diamond studs in Bob Gorinski of Mt. Pleasant (1970), Scot Thompson of Knoch (1974), Tim Conroy of Gateway (1978), Neil Walker of Pine-Richland (2004), Alex Kirilloff of Plum (2016) and Brenden McKay of Blackhawk (2017).

It only took Hendrick two weeks to make up his mind and turn away his Mississippi State scholarship offer by signing a $4 million dollar pro contract to join the Cincinnati farm system.

Hendrick helped West Allegheny to great success in his three years of high school ball. The Indians finished 21-3 his freshman year, 16-3 his sophomore season and 18-3 as a junior, but West A never reached the WPIAL title game in those three years.

They twice reached the PIAA playoffs after losing in the WPIAL semifinals and lost in the district quarterfinals, 4-3 to Mars, in the 2019 5A playoffs in what turned out to be the final high school baseball game for Hendrick.

Hendrick’s senior year was wiped out by the pandemic.

No. 11 – COVID KOs Champs

No. 12 – Emotional Championship

No. 13 – Outstanding Olivia

No. 14 – The Bucs Aren’t Stopping Here

No. 15 – Free Fall

No. 16 – An Overdue Golden Storm

No. 17 – Lots of Mercy for Central Valley Foes

No. 18 – Swimming Sweep…Again

No. 19 – Fabulous Freshmen

No. 20 – Golden Knights of the Tennis Court

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