Westmoreland High School Athletes of the Week: Southmoreland’s Amarah McCutcheon and Hempfield’s Brandon Coughlin

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Saturday, April 23, 2022 | 4:02 PM


Amarah McCutcheon

School: Southmoreland

Sport: Softball

Year: Sophomore

Claim to fame: McCutcheon, an ultra-talented Class of ‘23 prospect with power and range, delivered the Scotties a walk-off win Wednesday in a 4-3 victory over Waynesburg.

McCutcheon, a shortstop, went 3 for 4 with a double and three RBIs in the win for the Class 3A No. 3 Scotties. Her two-out single drove in the game-winner in the seventh.

She had two RBIs in an 11-6 win over defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Mt. Pleasant, homered against South Allegheny and singled off of standout Maddie Griffin in a tight 2-1 win over Ligonier Valley.

McCutcheon had a breakthrough freshman season when she hit .613 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs and 32 runs.

What was going through your mind before you got the winning hit against Waynesburg?

Knowing that it was the bottom of the seventh, Elle (Pawlikowsky) was on first, we had two outs and I had to deliver. Our team had worked so hard all game whether that be making plays for (pitcher) Maddie Brown, or hitting the ball and laying down bunts when we needed them. Our team and coaches were so loud at my at-bat, I had a good feeling I was going to hit because I had so many people believing in me.

Your nickname has to be “Cutch,” right?

It is (lol).

Do you have a nickname for your bat?

All of my bats have been called Casper because they are Ghost bats.

Southmoreland had themes in preseason practices where players dressed up in ballerina outfits, camouflage, medical scrubs, fluorescent construction gear and cowboy hats and boots. What was your favorite?

Definitely the cowboy.

You also play catcher in travel ball. What do you think of that position?

I haven’t really caught in travel recently due to one of my teammates being out with an ACL injury. So I mainly play third for travel.

How much do you think about last year’s WPIAL semifinal loss to Ellwood City?

Honestly, not very much. I’ve always been taught, whether it be by coach Todd (Bunner), my mom or my travel coaches, that once it happens, it’s done. You don’t dwell on it because it’s not going to change. So you go back with your team to work like you never did before so you can be your best.

What did you strive to improve on this high school season?

Continuing to work on my defense and to continue working on my hitting and helping my team in any way that I can.

How far was the longest home run you have ever hit?

Around 315-ish feet during travel season last year.

Did you ever turn a triple play?

Yes.

Who is the best pitcher you’ve ever faced?

Sydnie Watts, who is from Ohio and plays for Austintown Fitch High School.

What is your go-to drink at Starbucks?

Strawberry acai with lemonade.

There is talk of the Name, Image, Likeness movement coming to the high school level. Who or what would you like to endorse?

Definitely my shoulder brace.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can do back flips and crazy flips.

What is a sport you’re sneaky good at?

Volleyball.

Favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner?

French toast, pizza, and steak and mashed potatoes.

Best pizza in your hometown?

Bud Murphy’s.

How many times will you visit the Evergreen Drive-In this summer?

Not a lot due to softball.

What movie have you seen way too many times?

“A League of Their Own.”

What band or song could you listen to every day?

Cody Johnson or Morgan Wallen.

Brandon Coughlin

School: Hempfield

Sport: Baseball

Year: Senior

Claim to fame: The standout outfielder/pitcher played a key role in helping the Spartans earn a split against first place Mt. Lebanon. He went 4 for 6 with a home run, three RBIs, two walks, two stolen bases and two runs scored. He also started the final play of the game when he made a perfect throw to Joe Fiedor, who turned and threw a strike to the catcher to tag out a potential tying run on the final play of the game. He is batting .364 with two home runs, 10 RBIs, seven runs scored, four stolen bases, nine walks, an on-base percentage of .512 and slugging average of .606. He is the teams’ closer with 12 strikeouts in eight innings.

What are the goals for yourself and the team?

I’m trying to do as much as I can to help the team. The goal all season has been to make it back to the WPIAL 6A championship game and go further than we did last year in the PIAA playoffs. We lost in the championship game, and we lost a lot of seniors. But we have some young players starting to step up. I’m confident that our pitchers, Jake Kramer and Noah Zadroga, will do the job.

How big was it to hand Mt. Lebanon its first loss in the section?

It was huge because we lost the first game to them in nine innings, and we walked away knowing we should have won. It was a lot closer than it should have been. On the final play, the kid was pulling the ball all game, and I knew it was coming to me. When he hit, I knew I had to get to the ball quickly and get the ball to Joe. He made a great throw to get the runner.

You’re going to Lehigh. What sold you on the school?

It has great athletics and academics. I want to get into some sort of engineering program, and I also like the coaches. I feel it’s a perfect fit for me.

Who got you into baseball?

My dad, Vince, got me started in Tee-ball at Bovard when I was 4 or 5. My dad played in high school at Penn Hills. I just love the game.

Do you play any other sport?

No, I gave up basketball my freshman season so I could devote more of my time trying to get better in baseball. I’m a lot stronger now. I hit the ball further and harder. I’m more athletics.

Do you have any pregame rituals like meals or music you listen to?

Not really. I put on eye black, and I like to listen to loud music. I pack my own lunch to I make sure I have an apple, yogurt, snacks and a peanut butter sandwich.

What is your favorite meal?

I like my mom’s chicken and rice dishes. They’re always pretty good.

Who is or was your favorite Pirate? And do you have another player you like to watch?

My favorite Pirate was Josh Harrison. I liked how scrappy he was. I like watching the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton.

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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