Westmoreland athletes of the week: Jeannette’s Zander Malik, Latrobe’s Jordan Tallman

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | 8:17 PM

Zander Malik

School: Jeannette

Sport: Baseball

Class: Senior

Claim to fame: Malik, who has a .333 batting average with a team-high eight RBIs this season, doubled and drove in four runs to lead Jeannette (4-1, 1-0) to a 8-4 win over Leechburg in nonsection action April 3. Malik drove in three runs in a 12-10 win over Greensburg Central Catholic on April 2.

“Coach preaches that it’s not about hits. It’s about the small stuff. We’re looking good this year,” Malik said.

What are your college plans for next year?

I will attend Pennsylvania College of Technology. I will play baseball. I will study construction management. My mom is in the same field.

What has been the key to the team’s success this season?

It’s mostly bonding together as one. If you’re not in the game, you need to talk us up.

What did the team learn from the loss in the WPIAL Class A semifinals last year?

It was pretty heartbreaking since we thought we were going to do a lot better with Tre Cunningham coming back. We were disappointed with the outcome.

What’s your favorite sport, football or baseball?

Baseball. I love the mental game. It’s not about who’s bigger, stronger and faster. It’s all about the small stuff.

What do you want to be remembered for when you graduate?

I’d like to be remembered for my baseball career.

Jordan Tallman

School: Latrobe

Sport: Softball

Class: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Tallman, who is 7-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 101 strikeouts and 20 walks in 48 innings this season, struck out 21 in 10 innings to lead Latrobe (8-0, 5-0) to a 1-0 win over Yough in nonsection play April 6. Tallman, who has struck out 77 batters in the last five games, struck out 18 in a 6-5 win over Franklin Regional in Section 1-5A action April 4. She threw a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 3-2 win over Albert Gallatin in section play April 2.

“I’m happy with how my team and I have come out and performed. I’m working on getting my walk count lower and working on more strikeouts. I’m really trying to go after those batters and getting ahead of the count,” Tallman said.

What has been the key to your success this season?

I’m just confident right now with knowing my girls behind have my back, and I will have theirs.

How does it feel to have this type of success?

It feels pretty awesome, especially being younger and not getting a lot of pitching time last year. I look to continue it through the rest of the regular season and postseason.

What has been the biggest piece of advice you’ve used on the mound?

I need to be confident in myself and making sure I can bounce back from giving up that walk or hit. It helps me remain calm.

What did you learn last year when you watched Kiley Myers pitch?

Watching Kiley pitch, she had an amazing season, and I knew I had step up and reach her bar. Last year, you could see how confident she was with how she pitched and knowing the girls could always pick her up. We are all in it together as a team, and it’s amazing to have such a great team behind you.

What is your favorite meal?

Tacos. I was a vegetarian for 10 years. About a year ago, I started to eat meat again, and I can’t stop eating tacos.

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