Alexa Bryson Once Again A Winner At Latrobe
by Matt Shetler
Sometimes it is not easy to turn yourself from a great player into a successful coach, as many great players often fail when they get their turn on the sidelines.
Latrobe’s Alexa Bryson has been doing her best to disprove that theory and she is getting to do so at home.
Bryson, who once starred as one of the best pitchers in not only Latrobe history, but WPIAL history has led the Wildcats to a 6-3 start in Section 1 (AAAA) play and a 9-3 record overall.
A 9-6 win over North Allegheny on Thursday has Bryson and the Wildcats sitting just one game back of Penn-Trafford and Norwin for the section lead.
“It is a wonderful feeling to be back at Latrobe now as a coach,” said Bryson. “I am very happy to have the chance to give back to the district that did so much for me as a student and an athlete.”
Bryson, a Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year as a senior went on to pitch at Robert Morris, went 58-15 with a 0.43 ERA and 10 no-hitters at Latrobe.
As a senior in 2008 she was named the Post-Gazette’s Player of the Year, posting a 20-3 record with a WPIAL-best 316 strikeouts. She tossed four no-hitters, including two in the playoffs, and also struck out a career-high 25 in a postseason win against Central York.
Bryson was also a solid offensive threat, hitting .411 with a .452 on base percentage.
While at Robert Morris, Bryson went 53-28 with a 2.47 ERA from 2009-12.
She has attempted to draw on her success as a player to attempt to produce new stars at Latrobe.
“I try to relate some of my past experiences to different parts of the game as they arise,” added Bryson. “I try to apply the lessons I learned at all levels of the game to my coaching. I really try to let the players know that I understand what they’re going through on the field. I understand the pressure situations, I understand the successes and failures, and I just want them to know that.”
Right after college, Bryson accepted a position on the Latrobe staff last season under former coach Richard Shaheen.
However once Shaheen stepped down following the season, Bryson became the obvious choice.
As the Wildcats all-time leading hurler, Bryson brings instant credibility to the pitching staff and someone her current staff can lean on.
“As a former pitcher I try to let the pitchers know that I understand what it is like to be out there on the mound during tough situations,” said Bryson. “I think the mental part of pitching is something you learn from experience, and I hope to help the pitchers when I discuss that aspect.”
How will Bryson and the Wildcats fare down the stretch of a very tough section?
That’s anyone’s guess right now.
But with a favorable section schedule down the stretch, the Wildcats have a legitimate shot to find themselves near the top of the standings by season’s end.
That’s something Bryson feels her team is prepared for.
“I am very pleased with our team’s resilience,” added Bryson. “We are able to bounce back from tough innings and tough games. There is a lot to be said for that. We need to continue playing fundamentally sound and get some timely hitting to reach our goals.”