Shenango's Edwards baffles opposing hitters

Shenango High's Mia Edwards dominated three opponents last week from the circle.

Shenango High softball standout Mia Edwards hasn’t needed much help defensively this year from her teammates.

That’s because Edwards is taking care of them via a strikeout.

Last week, Edwards added to her dominance in a trio of wins.

Edwards pitched against Quaker Valley, Laurel and Blackhawk. She worked 182/3 innings, allowing six hits and zero runs with 47 strikeouts and just one walk. She picked up all three wins as well.

“Probably what stood out the most is the Laurel game,” Shenango coach Pat Quahliero said. “That’s about as close to perfection as I’ve seen in terms of executing pitches; she was hitting her spots.” 

For her efforts, Edwards was named the Lawrence County Athlete of the Week, as voted on by the New Castle News sports staff.

Edwards, a senior right-handed pitcher, opened the week by tossing four innings against Quaker Valley in a 9-7 nonsection victory over Quaker Valley. She gave up two hits and no runs with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

Shenango opened WPIAL Section 4-2A play on Tuesday and Edwards mowed down the Lady Spartans hitters. Edwards pitched a complete game in a 4-0 verdict over Laurel. She struck out 19 of the 21 batters she faced with no walks.

“It was everything against Laurel,” Quahliero said of what stood out from her effort against Laurel. “She throws hard, there’s no doubt about that.

“Typically, the second and third time through the order, the batters catch up. She kept them off balance, though. She was hitting the corners, getting up at the letters. Mia was in total command of everything.”

On Saturday, Edwards struck out 18 Blackhawk batters in a 5-0 Shenango win. She allowed a hit and a walk in the victory.

“I think she would tell you she was a little off in that game,” Quahliero said. “She did not hit all of her spots with all of her pitches and that’s a testament to how amazing she was against Laurel.

“She actually had to work a little more against Blackhawk. She went to some full counts. Without question, the other four games prior to Blackhawk, she had one or two full counts, maybe three.”

Last year, Edwards didn’t get a chance to showcase her development as the season was canceled because of COVID-19.

“I’m amazed, I really am,” Quahliero said. “We saw glimpses of this as a sophomore and even as a freshman.

“It was sad for everybody last year not to get to play. Last year was going to be our opportunity to step up and for her to show her dominance. Thank God we have a shot at it this year.”  

The Lady Wildcats were 5-0 entering Monday’s action. Edwards had all five of the team’s victories, with 74 strikeouts and one walk. She has allowed 12 hits and no earned runs in 292/3 innings.

Shenango dropped a 2-0 road decision to Beaver on Monday.

“It is a small sample size, we won’t go too crazy with it,” Quahliero said. “She’s done this against quality opponents. These aren’t cupcake games. These teams swing the bat. They just haven’t been able to figure Mia out.”

Quahliero wants to make sure his team’s defense is alert throughout the game and not assuming a strikeout is upcoming.

“We’ve talked with the kids about it,” Quahliero said of the defense. “It’s something they need to adjust to.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t change (referring to the strikeouts). We’re going to have to make some big plays at some big times. We’ve done it a little bit. We have to learn to adapt to this and hopefully it stays around. It’s a good problem to have.”

Edwards, a daughter of Scott and Amy Edwards, will continue her softball and academic career at Colgate. The Lady Raiders are an NCAA Division I school competing in the Patriot League.

Edwards not only gets it done from the pitching circle, but the batter’s box as well. She is 6 of 14 at the plate prior to Monday’s game against Beaver with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs in five matchups.

In the three games last week, Edwards was 2 for 8 with an RBI and two walks. 

“She’s blessed with lightning quick hands,” Quahliero said. “She rarely gets beat on a fastball. She’s really working hard on trying to keep the ball in the middle of the field. She’s still honing her mechanics at the plate which is kind of scary.

“Mia has a tremendously supportive family. Her father puts in a ton of time with her. They’ve dedicated themselves, too.”

Edwards hits 60 to 62 miles per hour with her fastball. 

“That’s big-time velocity,” Quahliero said. “Her best pitch has been the rise ball throughout her high school career.

“Now that she’s locating the fastball more and throwing other pitches, she has more than the rise ball to throw.”

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com

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Sports Writer

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is a sports writer at the New Castle News. Email him at rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com.

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