Westmoreland high school athletes of the week: Southmoreland’s Amarah McCutcheon and Penn-Trafford’s Matt Sarnowski

Saturday, April 20, 2024 | 7:30 PM

Amarah McCutcheon

School: Southmoreland

Class: Senior

Sport: Softball

Claim to fame: McCutcheon is one of the premier power hitters in the WPIAL, and she proved it with a career-high three home runs in a 15-0 win over South Allegheny. In that game, the Scotties launched seven homers, including four in a row. Both marks are believed to be school records.

McCutcheon, a Cal (Pa.) commit, is hitting .481 with seven homers, 20 RBIs and 14 runs scored.

The Scotties (9-1) have outscored their opponents 91-6. They have 16 homers as a team.

It must have been like a home run derby against South Allegheny. What was it like to see the softballs flying out?

It was crazy. Going back-to-back four times was insane. I have never seen so many homers in one inning ever. Our bats were hot (Wednesday), and it showed.

What was going through your mind after you hit the second one? The third one?

Honestly, the same thing that always go through my head. Stay tall and short and to not waste any good pitches.

Have you ever hit three homers in a game before?

No. Usually I aim to hit line drives or gap shots and try and move our runners on bases.

What are the most you’ve hit in a travel ball game?

The most I have ever hit in a travel game was two.

Do you guys ever have home run contests in practice?

Usually we just do tee-work and our normal fundamental drills. We have only played home run derby one time this year.

How any homers do you have in your HS career? Travel career?

In high school ball, I have 33 home runs. In travel, I am honestly not sure.

Any softball superstitions?

I have to have my hair curled and in a slicked back ponytail with my red bow.

You had Division I college offers but decided to commit to Cal (Pa), a Division II program. What was the main reason for your decision?

Cal U had everything I wanted in a softball program and in a school. The coaches and girls are great. Their teaching program is also really good. It was instantly what felt like home from home.

Will you play shortstop in college?

I hope so. Coach (Rick Bertagnoli) looked at me as a middle infielde/utility (player). I am willing to play anywhere though.

Do you have a name for your bat?

I call my bat “Amarica,” only because it has an American flag bat wrap. So I combined my name and America, and that’s how I got “Amarica.”

I can’t play a softball game unless I _____?

Go through my normal warmup routine the same way every time.

How good can this team be, and how badly do the Scotties want to play Avonworth again?

All of us want to win it all. We are ready for whatever is thrown at us. The sky is the limit for this team, and I believe it is showing this year. We are going to be ready for whoever we play. We take all of our games one at a time.

What is it like having your mom (Ashley) coaching you from the dugout?

It’s an awesome thing. This season is the last time I will ever play for my mom. Having her in there is something I will forever be grateful for.

Who is your favorite softball player, pro or college?

Kinzie Hansen from Oklahoma.

What are you most looking forward to about summer?

Getting to go travel with my best friends one more time playing the sport that brought us together in the first place. Also, spending time with my family and friends.

Who is the toughest pitcher you’ve ever faced?

My teammate and very close friend Alivia Lantzy (of Avonworth). She’s a beast.

Are you still into baking? What is your specialty?

Yes. My specialty right now is my tres leches cake.

You had a lot of success in volleyball season. Does this season feel similar?

Yes, but to me, this softball season feels more electric.

Who is your hero?

My mom.

What makes you happy?

Being able to give back in any way whether it be softball or community related. Making a positive impact on people and being with my family and friends.

What makes you sad?

Realizing that this season is all I got left. I have a little over a month left with the girls I grew up with. It’s bittersweet.

True or false: The Pittsburgh Pirates will make the playoffs.


Matt Sarnowski

School: Penn-Trafford

Class: Senior

Sport: Track and Field

Claim to fame: Sarnowski recently nailed the top throw in the state when he threw the discus 185 feet, 7 inches on April 18 in a dual meet against Hempfield. The winning throw proved to be the difference in a 76-74 victory against the Spartans and qualified the Warriors for their second consecutive berth in the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs. On April 13, Sarnowski won the Lady Spartan/Wildcat Invitational with a throw of 179-3. Sarnowski also throws the shot put and javelin. He also was on the WPIAL/PIAA Class 5A champion football team in 2021. He was on the Tribune-Review Finest 25 second team.

What did it mean to win the invitational?

It was a little bit of relief. That was my first invitational win, and it sets me up for a big ending to my career.

How did you feel when you hit the big throws against Hempfield?

We’ve been looking forward for this meet for a couple weeks. We knew everyone had to do their jobs, including me. The winning throw actually felt good out of my hands. I knew it would probably be a personal record. All my throws were good that day.

Do you have a goal or distance you’d like to throw this season?

The goal is to throw between 190 and 195 feet and win the state title. It won’t be easy. Hempfield’s Peyton Murray is a great thrower, and I feel we’ll push each other all season.

When did you start throwing the discus?

I was in seventh grade. That’s when I stopped playing baseball and started throwing the discus and shot put. I loved it, and I’ve steadily improved.

What sport will you play in college?

I’m going to Penn State, and I’ve been promised a roster spot in the track team. Hopefully, if I continue to throw well I’ll get some money. That would be awesome.

What inspired you to do the fundraiser you are doing?

They closed down the playground at Trafford Elementary School, and it was a place I used to play at growing up. I’m raising money to rebuild the park for the kids because I would have hated not to have a place to play at when I was young. I’m asking people to donate a set number or one cent for every foot I throw in the discus, shot put and javelin I throw this season. I’ve raised more than $6,000 so far.

What has been your most memorable or best game?

I has to be winning the WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A football titles my sophomore season. Even though I didn’t start, it was so exciting to be part of that team.

What’s a famous line you remember from football coach John Ruane?

Adversity. He always talked about dealing with adversity every day. I think about that a lot when I preparing to throw in track meets.

What positions did you play on the football team?

I was the starting left tackle for two years and the starting defensive end. I was named first team defensive end my senior season and honorable mention left tackle my junior year.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

I like Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Do you have a dream vacation spot on your bucket list?

I’d like to go Greek island hopping.

Where do you go for a snack after a game or practice?

We go to Applebee’s, and I get the pretzel with honey mustard and a cheeseburger.

If your mom was making you your favorite dinner, what would it be?

I like her chili. It’s a mild chili.

If you were the Steelers’ GM, who would you pick in the first round of the upcoming draft?

I’d go for an offensive lineman, either a tackle or a center.

What are your expectations for the Steelers in 2024?

Make the playoffs and win at least one playoff game.

What type of music do you listen to?

I like to listen to all music.

What is the last movie you watched?

“Oppenheimer.” I really liked that move.

What is your favorite type of movies?

I like comedies.

Who would play you in a movie?

Leonardo DiCaprio.

What’s your favorite pizza in the Penn-Trafford School District?

I like Hometown Pizza. They just opened one across from the high school.

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

I’d pick J. Robert Oppenheimer, and we’d talk science and physics and the things he worked on during his career.

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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