Missed opportunities cost Norwin softball playoff berth
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Norwin softball team's postseason hopes officially ended with a 9-1 loss to Penn-Trafford on May 2.
In coach Andy Phipps' mind, however, the Knights' downfall actually came about because of early-season losses to Franklin Regional and Kiski Area.
Norwin (11-7, 6-6 Section 1-AAAA) lost to Franklin Regional, 2-1, on April 2 and to Kiski, 6-4, on April 16. The Panthers and Cavaliers finished at the bottom of the section.
“If we win those two games, then the outcome of the Penn-Trafford game is meaningless,” Phipps said. “Those were the two games that we had to win. Last year's playoff team, we beat everybody that we were capable of beating. This year, we lost to two or three teams we were capable of beating. When you have down games like that, it can come back and cost you the postseason.”
Phipps said he came into this season with high expectations after the Knights won a share of the section championship a season ago.
However, the three seniors who graduated from that team — Kayleigh Dodd, Rachel Lojas and Abbey Zorzi — provided about 35-40 percent of its offense, Phipps said. Norwin missed that firepower this season, as the team left more than 160 runners on base and scored 45 fewer runs.
“When you take those girls you left on base and weren't able to produce runs off them, it's going to cost you,” Phipps said.
The Knights also didn't have their top pitcher from last season available this year. Senior Jamie Robinson suffered a shoulder injury late last season, and it kept her from pitching again until March.
“As far as I'm concerned, she never got back to 100 percent,” Phipps said.
In Robinson's place, junior Maddy Miller became the team's primary pitcher. She won nine games and struck out 63 this season.
Five seniors will graduate: Robinson, Cassidy Chappell, Nikki Ingel, Lauren Long and Alicia McMichael. Phipps said all five batted over .350 this season, led by Ingel's team-best .557 average.
Chappell and Robinson were four-year starters, and Ingel was a two-year starter after playing her first two seasons at Greensburg Central Catholic. However, Norwin will return a solid nucleus of Miller, sophomore catcher Maddy Wensel (.525 average, 13 RBI) and freshman Christiana Skrabak (.448 average, three home runs).
Phipps said two current eighth-graders will supplement Miller on the mound.
When you take those five seniors (out), obviously you're starting to have to fill a lot of positions,” Phipps said. “But we have some really nice young talent. We've got a couple eighth-graders coming up that are really strong.
“So again next year we feel like we can be really competitive and hopefully get back into the postseason.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trinity softball rallies to reach its 1st PIAA championship game
- Hempfield’s postseason run falls just short of title game
- Zola, Dadig leave a lasting legacy for Seton-La Salle softball program
- Steel Valley’s Janov wins Daily News Coach of Year
- Yough ace Mularski named Daily News Softball Player of Year
- Trinity falls in PIAA Class AAA softball championship game
- Seton-La Salle softball program to miss Dadig, Zola
- Albert Gallatin softball’s Walls bounces back after temporary paralysis