TIMES HERALD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK:
Port Huron Northern pitcher Riley Shagena dominates
Joseph Hayes, Times Herald
Riley Shagena is growing more confident by the day.
The Port Huron Northern junior pitcher has been the Huskies’ go-to pitcher since she entered high school as a freshman. But this season, Shagena has taken her play up another notch and is dominating hitters game in and game out.
Last week, she led Northern to several victories en route to being named Times Herald Athlete of the Week. Ethan Mahn of St. Clair, Curtis Corby of Port Huron and Shea VanScoter of Richmond were also considered for the award.
“She really is getting more confident each time she goes out there,” Northern softball coach and Shagena’s father, Randy, said. “She has been getting better every outing and she is attacking the strike zone and getting ahead.
“That helps her keep hitters off balance and has been an important part of her success this year.”
Shagena recorded a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a victory over Grosse Pointe South and recently added victories over Waterford Mott and L’Anse Creuse.
“I think that my confidence has really played a role,” Shagena said. “As a freshman, I was more worried about winning and now I’m more worried about playing my game, knowing my team is behind me.
“I know my team can win and back me up from the plate and the field. That really helps with confidence.”
Shagena is 7-3 on the season with a 2.10 ERA. She is currently averaging 10 strikeouts per seven innings.
“I get more confidence each and every at-bat,” she said. “You want to pitch to hitters even more and see what you can do. It’s all in your mentality. You know you can beat this team and you have to take your game up to be better and even more dominant.”
Making this season even better for Riley has been working under her dad as coach, and being joined on the team by her freshman sister, Ally.
“I love it,” she said. “I think I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having him there makes me work harder in practice. He knows a whole bunch about the game and I feel confidence with him being there. We are so used to each other and I think its cool.
“I love playing with my sister. We played varsity basketball too and it’s like we are carrying that over to softball. It’s great.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.