West Mifflin celebrates win over McKeesport, another shutout for Addison Hilligsberg

Friday, April 14, 2023 | 11:15 PM

Friday was West Mifflin softball coach Erik Hilligsberg’s birthday.

“We’ve played two or three times (on his birthday) and they’ve responded and we’ve won,” Hilligsberg said. “Maybe every game should be on my birthday.”

The birthday boy got his wish as his Titans played a complete game in shutting out McKeesport, 8-0.

“We’ve got four freshmen out there and had to shuffle some people around today and they kind of responded,” Hilligsberg said. “They made some plays in the field and took care of business.”

Erik’s niece, Addison Hilligsberg, picked up her second straight shutout in the circle for West Mifflin, scattering five hits while only walking one and striking out five.

“Addison has pitched extremely well all year,” Uncle Erik said. “I’m extremely proud of her. She’s having a great season this year, rebounding off last season. Our defense behind her has played tremendously.”

That was evident two batters in.

McKeesport had its best chance at scoring in the top of the first inning when Jessica Miller singled, stole second base and tried to score on a single to right centerfield by her cousin, Madison Miller.

Titans centerfielder Kayleigh Tatters threw a dart to the plate and reserve catcher Aurora Rosso applied the tag to barely get the speedy Jessica Miller at home plate.

“(Tatters) has been doing so well for us this year as a freshman,” Addison Hilligsberg said. “I love having her out there, and I have a lot of trust in her.”

McKeesport didn’t get a baserunner past second the rest of the game.

The senior Rosso started as a catcher when she was a freshman but was playing shortstop for the Titans until an injury to Caleigh Ignat forced her back behind the plate.

While Rosso was solid behind the plate, she was also impressive at the dish. She was 2 for 2 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and three RBIs.

“I’ve been in a little slump recently because I work myself up, so I decided to take it back a little and just breathe,” Rosso said. “When you’re calm, it’s easier to relax and hit the ball.”

West Mifflin scored in all but two innings.

The Titans scored two in the first on a RBI single by Hilligsberg and a run producing double by Rylie Dobnak.

A Tatters double scored Samantha Tomko in the second inning, then the Titans chased Tigers starting pitcher Madison Miller with four runs in the fourth inning.

Tigers reliever Kate Hrinda pitched well for the final 2⅔ innings, allowing only one earned run on one hit.

McKeesport (0-4, 4-6) has dropped four games in a row and will battle Woodland Hills to wrap up the first half of play in Section 1-4A.

West Mifflin (2-2, 6-3), which won four of five to start the season, has won two straight. The Titans, who are tied with Highlands for third place in the section, will travel to battle the Golden Rams on Monday.

“We’ve made some careless baserunning mistakes in some of the losses we’ve had, but we cleaned them up,” Erik Hilligsberg said. “As far as out pitching and our defense go, that has been pretty solid all year and the hitting, the more experience these young girls get, their only going to get batter.”

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