Upper St. Clair junior’s extra effort pays off with special recognition
Rebecca Stage came a long way to qualify for the Queen of Diamonds Showcase North softball tournament at Kent State University.
The 16-year-old junior from Upper St. Clair was one of 264 high school players from the United States and Canada selected for two Queen of Diamonds regional competitions Jan. 8-9. The fast-pitch tournament is the largest of its kind in the United States.
“I’m looking forward to playing there,” Stage said. “It will be a great way for me to show off my skills to college recruiters.”
A two-year starter at Upper St. Clair, Stage batted .402 playing first base for the Pittsburgh Pride AAU 16-and-under travel team from Zelienople last summer, leading the team in runs batted in, hits, slugging percentage and doubles. She had a .479 on-base percentage.
“I’ve worked really hard to become an upper-tier player,” Stage said. “Five years ago, I sat on the bench thinking that I would have to really work if I wanted to get better.”
“Becca wasn’t very good when she joined us as an 11-year-old,” Pittsburgh Pride Assistant Coach John Krull said. “Through hard work and sheer determination, she made herself a good athlete and an upper-tier player.”
Stage is considered a better hitter than fielder. She plans to concentrate on first base after playing first base and third base the last two seasons at Upper St. Clair.
“Becca is no slouch and is a better-than-average fielder,” Krull said. “If she keeps working at it, I’m sure she’ll end up being as good of a fielder as she is a hitter. Right now, her greatest strength is power-hitting.”
Stage has five career home runs as a member of the Pittsburgh Pride.
“I work out year-round,” Stage said. “I lift weights, hit off the tee and practice my fielding. My father will throw balls toward the ground and I’ll practice digging them up, which helps me at first base.”
Charlie Stage, Rebecca’s father, is Pittsburgh Pride’s head coach.
“Becca’s high school statistics aren’t nearly as impressive as those from AAU, but she’s still young,” her father said. “She’s 5-foot-8 and still growing. She’s bound to become an even better player the next two years.”
“Becca is definitely up and coming,” Upper St. Clair coach Jen Wagner said. “She has a great work ethic and goes about her business in a quiet, reserved fashion; she’s not the rah-rah type. She is driven and team-oriented, and one of the most promising players I’ve coached in my seven years here.”