West Mifflin Area School District News Article

Titans baseball and softball teams continue winning culture

The West Mifflin Area high school baseball and softball teams entered this season with two starkly different situations.

While the baseball team had returned a number of players from a 15-4 team, the softball team was starting anew with a young squad. Regardless, the teams’ coaches were both confident that success would come, knowing that a strong culture of winning had been built.

“There is a culture of winning. I’ve done this long enough that you set a standard and each class that comes through this school sees that standard. The competitive athlete of any player — especially Titans baseball — is to be just as good, if not better than the past year,” said Titans baseball coach Jeff Kuzma.

“And I see that edge in our players and staff. It’s a relentless competitive edge that they don’t want to go away.”

Kuzma’s squad went 17-3 this season, with a 9-1 section record. They tied for the section title with Thomas Jefferson, making it four consecutive seasons that the Titans have tied or outright won the section. Meanwhile, the softball team went 11-9 and 6-4 in their section. Both teams lost in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL 4A playoffs.

“We were a young team. Most of the games, seven out of our nine starters were in 9th or 10th grade,”  said Titans softball coach Erik Hilligsberg. “It was a bit of a transition year, where we were bridging the gap between the new group and the old group.”

Hilligsberg gave credit to his young team for making the quick transition, as well as the culture he’s built since taking over in 2018. Since then, the Titans have made the playoffs every season.

Rylie Dobnak, the team’s pitcher, was crucial for the Titans this season.

“She was a bright spot for this team. She pitched tremendously and did an outstanding job of keeping us in every game this year,” said Hilligsberg. 

“Our defense and our pitching this year was great, and that’s why we were in just about every game.”

Meanwhile, Kuzma was proud to see his senior class of four – Adian Munsie, Corey Kuszaj, Jacob Cannon, and Zane Griffaton — win a section title once again. Kuzma will fondly remember that group of seniors, and the impact they’ve had on Titan baseball. In 2022, they won the program’s first WPIAL title.

“Finishing off 17-3 and winning our 4th section title in a row is pretty special. This is another historical moment for the district and Titans baseball. I’m very excited for the senior class to be a part of this historical moment,” said Kuzma.

“I’m excited for our district, I’m excited for our program and looking forward to continuing to do what we do. We’ve made Titans baseball one of the most respected programs in the area. It’s a really spectacular and special run that we’re on right now with the culture and character of this team.”

While his team’s season is still freshly over, Kuzma has already started thinking about next year. He’s feeling optimistic about continuing to further the winning culture that’s been built over the past several years. As is Hilligsberg, who has another big group of freshmen coming in next year.

“The next two or three years should be really exciting,” said Hilligsberg.

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