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Freshman Chorba helps Norwin softball top Franklin Regional

| Friday, March 28, 2014, 11:39 p.m.

Norwin freshman Danielle Chorba homered on the first pitch of her first varsity at-bat and nearly launched another longball in the fifth inning of the Knights' season-opening 6-1 softball victory over visiting Franklin Regional on Friday.

Chorba's first career homer — a three-run shot off Cara Markowitz over the left-field fence — gave Norwin a 4-0 lead after Lafayette recruit Maddy Wensel's sacrifice fly made it 1-0.

It was more than enough offense to back the five-hit pitching of Norwin senior right-hander Maddy Miller.

“I wasn't that nervous,” said Chorba, of her first career plate appearance in a high school game. “I'm usually a confident person.”

Still, a near two-homer game for a ninth-grader with no varsity experience?

“I wasn't expecting it,” Chorba said. “It was a good day for our team and a good day for me, individually.”

Miller's five-hitter included nine strikeouts, two walks and one hit-batsman for Norwin (1-0, 1-0), which had to wait an extra week for its season to begin after its first three scheduled games were postponed by poor weather conditions.

“I've been coaching Maddy since the seventh grade, and I told her afterward that I felt this was her best game,” Norwin coach Andy Phipps said.

After Franklin Regional (0-3, 0-2) touched Miller for its only run in the third, Norwin scored in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back extra-base hits — sophomore Christiana Skrabak tripling and crossing on a double by Miller — to make it 5-1.

The Knights, who pounded out 10 hits, went ahead 6-1 in the fifth when Chorba clubbed a towering double off the center-field fence and scored on a single by Nikki Berardinelli.

Chorba, who was called out in her second at-bat on a bunt-attempt when the ball hit her after she had left the batter's box, wasn't sure if her third at-bat would produce another homer after she hit the ball.

“I wasn't watching it,” she said. “I just hit it and started to run.”

The ball carried almost over the deepest part of the fence in center, hitting high off the top of the chain links and bouncing back into play as Chorba settled into second base.

After her first-inning homer, Chorba said all she really was thinking about was, “One-and-done. Move on.”

“I've watched her in scrimmages, and I knew she had power,” Phipps said. “I'm one of those coaches who, if I think someone can help us, it doesn't matter what grade they're in, they're going to be in the lineup.”

Sophomore Raeann Sleith also doubled for Norwin, which visits Hempfield on Tuesday.

“We were hungry today,” Phipps said. “The girls wanted this game. They'd been waiting to get on the field. It's a great way to start the season.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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