Westmoreland County athletes of the week: Southmoreland’s Makayla Etling, Yough’s Gavin Roebuck

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Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Makayla Etling

School: Southmoreland

Sport: Softball

Class: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Etling helped lead the Scotties to an amazing comeback in the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals. She went 4 for 5 with two triples and a two-run homer that came in the team’s seven-run seventh inning of a 15-14 win over Yough. She also went 2 for 3 in a 3-1 win over McGuffey in the first round. Southmoreland will play Waynesburg in the semifinals Tuesday.

What was it like to rally from six runs down to beat Yough?

It was exciting and fun but also a little nerve-racking.

What made you believe you could win?

I have a bunch of really good teammates that I can count on. I also prayed that God would keep us focused and confident about our abilities.

What was going through your mind when the ball left the bat on your home run?

I thought that it better be going in a gap.

Was that the wildest game you have ever seen?

I’m not really sure.

You have had success in the playoffs at Norwin before. You must like that field?

Yes, I like hitting at the Norwin field, but when I’m catching, I prefer a larger backstop with no overhang.

What has the team rallied around most this season?

Our want to win and never giving up, no matter the score, keeps us going.

Will the semifinal experience from the last two years help this year?

Yes, we will have the needed experience to know what to expect in games to come.

What do you like most about playing catcher?

I love to throw runners out and get short bunts.

What does it take to be a good catcher?

Don’t let anything pass you, move and frame for your pitcher and have a good arm.

How exciting would it be to make it to the WPIAL finals?

Very exciting!

Do you play any other sports?

Yes, I play volleyball for my school.

Do you have any hidden talents or unique hobbies?

I am good at art.

Who is your favorite pro catcher?

Amanda Ramirez.

Have you ever met a famous person?

No.

Why do you wear No. 5?

It was the only decent number left last year, and I didn’t feel like changing it when we ordered new uniforms.

What makes you smile?

Most things.

What makes you frown?

Not much.

I can’t play a softball game without …?

My teammates.

At first, did you know a Scottie was a dog?

Yes, in all of our schools there is a Scottie dog somewhere.

Gavin Roebuck

School: Yough

Sport: Baseball

Class: Senior

Claim to fame: Roebuck drove in four runs with a two-run homer and two-run double to help Yough defeat Keystone Oaks, 12-2, in a WPIAL Class 3A first-round playoff game Thursday at Norwin. His home run came in the third inning a broke a 1-1 tie. His two-run double came in the sixth inning. Roebuck is one of the team leaders. He has 22 RBIs, 16 hits and 21 runs scored. He raised his average to .262.

What happened on the first play of the playoff game when you committed an error?

I was a little nervous and butterflies to be honest. Every playoff game adds to the excitement. I get that way until that first out. I feel the error was a fluke. Playoff jitters for sure.

You made up for that error?

I made up for it a little bit. It felt good to get the win.

On your home run, you tried to call timeout but the umpire didn’t grant it to you?

The pitcher was taking a while on the mound, and I like to be comfortable in the box, and when I’m waiting that long, I like call time and reset things. I tried to call time, but he gave me a pitch that I could hit. And I did what I should have done with it.

I guess the team checked one thing off the goal list?

Yes we did. Coach (Dan) Palm preaches one game at a time. So right now we’re focused on Neshannock on Monday. Hopefully, we’ll win that and focus on the next one.

How did your season go?

Personally my season was OK. I’d mark it as mediocre. My batting average wasn’t the best, but I hit the ball hard a lot of times, but ,unfortunately, I hit the ball hard at people. I didn’t strike out too many times. My fielding was a little shaky to start out because I moved to shortstop for the first time. I began the season as a third baseman. I started getting better at the end of the year and was more confident.

What was different about the new position?

You’re kind of like the head of the infield. You have to know more. It was a difficult transition at first. You have to be more agile and be more aware of what’s going on. You have to make tougher throws.

What are the team goals now that you won the section and qualified for the playoffs?

We want to make it to the WPIAL finals and win it. That’s been our goal for this senior group since the start of the season. That’s what we’re aiming for.

Did you play any other sport at Yough?

I played football and wrestled.

Do you have a dream ride?

Not really, but I’m a big fan of a Jeep or a Hummer. That would be a good vehicle for me.

Who is your favorite baseball player?

No one in particular, but I like to watch guys like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Andrew McCutchen. I like watching McCutchen come back to Pittsburgh.

Do you have a favorite sports team?

Any Pittsburgh team.

How do you think the Pirates will finish?

They were off to good start. I just think they have to hit the ball. The pitching has been there. If they can continue to hit the ball, they have a chance to win the division.

What did you think about the Steelers’ draft?

I loved it. Going out and getting Joey Porter Jr. in the second round, that was big. A lot of people had him going in the first round.

What’s your go-to snack when you are home?

Probably some beef jerky. It has good protein. You can’t go wrong.

Where do you and your teammates head to after a meet or practice for a snack?

I like to go to Dairy Queen for a milkshake.

What is your favorite meal that your mom makes?

Actually my grandma does most of the cooking. She has some homemade chicken and noodle soup that hits the spot.

If you were to have dinner with someone famous, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Anyone like a Mike Trout or a Troy Polamalu and talk about the experiences in their profession.

What’s the best pizza in the Yough School District?

For me, it’s the Pizza House in West Newton. I love their homemade pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms. It’s just great.

Do you have any pets?

I have three Red Nose Pitbulls.

What’s the last movie you watched?

I saw the newest Dr. Strange with my brother and a couple of his friends.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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