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Norwin rallies past Hempfield behind 4 home runs

| Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 11:21 p.m.

Norwin turned a big deficit into a 13-10 victory Tuesday by hitting four home runs in the final three innings of its WPIAL Section 1-AAAA softball game at No. 4 Hempfield.

Windy conditions clearly favored the hitters.

“When we were down, I said ‘This game is not over,' ” Norwin coach Andy Phipps said, glancing up at a sunny sky.

Hempfield's windswept complex is perched on a plateau behind the high school, and balls began jumping off the bats in later innings as gusts had fans and players holding on to their hats.

Norwin belted four homers and Hempfield one, with several other hits by both teams nearly sailing over the fence.

“It was very windy conditions,” Phipps said. “Both teams were taking advantage of it, but we were able to score more runs. I really think this team has a shot to do some big things this year.”

Erin Linhart had four hits, and Norwin (2-0, 2-0) overcome a five-run deficit in the later innings, largely on the strength of home runs by Hanna O'Block, Christiana Skrabak, Raeann Sleith and Danielle Chorba, who had three hits and was the winning pitcher in relief.

The Knights scored five runs in the sixth to go ahead 12-10 as Sleith hit a three-run homer and Skrabak added a solo shot.

Norwin, which outhit Hempfield, 18-13, trailed 8-3 before rallying to within 8-7, sparked by O'Block's three-run homer.

“That homer got us going in the fifth,” Phipps said. “I think that's the first home run I've ever seen her hit. Our team, 1 through 9, is very powerful.”

Chorba, a freshman who homered in Norwin's opener against Franklin Regional, took the mound in the third, when Hempfield scored six runs to erase a 3-2 Norwin lead. The Spartans sent 11 batters to the plate against starter Maddy Miller and Chorba, banging out five hits to go with two walks and a hit-batsman.

“After Danielle got warmed up, she really did a good job for us,” Phipps said. “That was a tough situation to come into in that third inning. She really didn't have much of a chance to get ready.”

Hempfield's Kasey Kolick, who homered in the fifth, and Taylor Bartlow had three hits apiece for the Spartans, who play host to McKeesport on Wednesday in a nonsection game.

After Kolick's shot helped Hempfield stretch its lead to 10-7, Norwin came back with its five-run sixth, chasing Hempfield starter Morgan Ryan.

Chorba added an insurance homer in the seventh for Norwin against reliever Morgan Bellush.

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at

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