The final pitch of the high school baseball season has been thrown. No more lines need to be chalked or infields dragged. The clangs of aluminum bats won’t be heard again until next spring, likewise with players chirping from dugouts and fans cheering from the bleachers.

But with finality also comes birth. That’s when the Pittsburgh Union Progress confidently strolls from the on-deck circle to the plate and brings you the first PUP baseball awards, which highlight the best of the best from the 2023 WPIAL high school baseball season. The honors are unique in that they are more than just your ordinary list of names and statistics. Instead, they are category-based and include such awards as Most Feared Slugger, Rookie of the Year and Best Name.

All players in the WPIAL and City League were considered, and all finalists and winners were selected by the PUP sports staff. Unfortunately, there are no physical awards, but the bragging rights that go along with being selected will last a lifetime.

Shaler’s Miguel Hugas went 11-0 with a 0.71 ERA this season while leading the Titans to WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A titles. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

(Winners in bold)

Best Pitcher

Miguel Hugas, Shaler

David Shields, Mt. Lebanon

Evan Holewinski, Bethel Park

Skinny: With its ace on the mound, WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A champion Shaler was “Gettin’ Miggy Wit It” a lot this season. Not only was the senior and Alabama recruit one of the area’s top hitters, but the right-hander also went 11-0 with a 0.71 ERA. In 71 innings, Hugas had 91 strikeouts and walked only six.

Most Feared Slugger

Jack Natili, Peters Township

Andrew Kocan, Canon-McMillan

Austin Lafferty, South Park

Skinny: No player in the WPIAL hit jacks like Jack did, as the senior and future Rutgers catcher mashed a district-leading nine homers. Natili’s power show included a four-game stretch in which he hit five home runs. He also led the team with a .451 average and 29 RBIs.

Mt. Lebanon’s David Shields tossed a no-hitter in Mt. Lebanon’s 4-0 win against North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class 6A championship May 31 at Wild Things Park. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Best Championship Performance

David Shields, Mt. Lebanon

Miguel Hugas, Shaler

Landon Fox, Hopewell

Skinny: “King David” was the brightest star of the WPIAL championships. His no-hitter with nine strikeouts helped Mt. Lebanon become “Kings of Class 6A” for the second consecutive season after beating North Allegheny, 4-0. The Miami recruit needed just 71 pitches to hurl his gem.

After going from closer to starter, Montour’s Jake Robinson threw a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts to help the Spartans defeat Hampton, 2-0, in the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals. (Courtesy of Montour baseball)

Most Clutch Performance

Jake Robinson, Montour

Jake Tinnemeyer, Mt. Lebanon

Derek Leas, Shaler

Skinny: After playing the role of closer all season, Robinson took the bump as a starter for the first time in Montour’s WPIAL quarterfinal matchup with Hampton. Actually, Robinson both started and closed the game. His four-hit shutout and 10 strikeouts helped Montour to a 2-0 win.

Riverside celebrates its 4-0 win against Camp Hill in the PIAA Class 3A championship June 15 at Penn State’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Best Storyline


Mt. Lebanon


Skinny: There’s never been a group like the 2023 Riverside Panthers, who became the first WPIAL team to win a PIAA title with a perfect record. Add in the fact that the Panthers are guided by ageless coaching legend Dan Oliastro (79!), and this team was one for the ages.

Rookie of the Year

Luke Williams, Franklin Regional

Owen Beatrice, North Catholic

Kingston Krotec, Hopewell

Skinny: What Luke accomplished this spring was no fluke. Considered one of the top ninth graders in the state, Williams, a Virginia commit, sure didn’t play like a freshman for the Panthers. He hit .345 and boasted a .418 OBP to go along with 10 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs.

Canon-McMillan’s Austyn Winkleblech was a standout on the diamond and the track this spring. (Submitted)

Top Two-Sport Talent

Austyn Winkleblech, Canon-McMillan

Matt Sieg, Fort Cherry

Tiqwai Hayes, Aliquippa

Skinny: A Pitt baseball recruit, what Winkleblech accomplished on the diamond was no surprise, hitting .291 with 23 runs and 13 steals. But he also showed off his wheels on the track. His time of 10.62 seconds in the 100-meter dash was a WPIAL championship record.

Riverside’s Mitch Garvin, left, talks to his brother Hunter before Hunter takes the mound in the seventh inning of their team’s 4-0 win against Camp Hill in the PIAA Class 3A championship June 15 at Penn State’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Best Brothers

Mitch and Hunter Garvin, Riverside

Anthony and Jarrod Malagise, Blackhawk

Jack, Luke and Rob Glies, Neshannock

Skinny: Riverside didn’t need Garmin to direct it to a perfect season. The Garvins did a fine job of that themselves. Mitch (a senior) and Hunter (a sophomore) were terrific all spring, and the pair shined in both the WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A title games for the 25-0 Panthers.

Best Name

Nolan Ryan, Norwin

Bruno Sammartino, Frazier

DiMaggio “Gio” LoNero, Seton LaSalle

Skinny: The grandson of a wrestling legend and a kid named after “Joltin’ Joe” provided some great competition, but the honor goes to Norwin’s “Ryan Express.” Ryan was indeed named after the baseball Hall of Famer. What’s funny is North Hills had a player named Ryan Nolan.

Best Video Interview

Tyler Maddix, Bishop Canevin

David Shields, Mt. Lebanon

Mitch Garvin, Riverside

Skinny: Maddix smiled wide as he answered questions after being the winning pitcher and scoring two runs in Canevin’s 8-5 triumph against California in the WPIAL Class 1A final. It was Canevin’s first title in 23 years, and it came on the same field that Maddix, then 6 years old, celebrated his dad coaching North Allegheny to a championship a decade earlier.

Check back Monday and Tuesday, when we reveal the PUP baseball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year for the 2023 season. The finalists are listed below.

Player of the Year

Evan Holewinski, Bethel Park

Miguel Hugas, Shaler

David Shields, Mt. Lebanon

Coach of the Year

Brian Junker, Shaler

Patt McCloskey, Mt. Lebanon

Dan Oliastro, Riverside

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at