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Freshman Chorba making impact for Norwin softball

| Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

After making contact with the ball in her first career at-bat, Norwin softball player Danielle Chorba put her head down and ran.

She didn't know she hit a home run until she was on the basepaths.

“They said, ‘It's over,'” Chorba said. “I said, ‘What's over? The game?' When they said I hit a home run, it was good, but you've got to move on after that. You can't dwell on it.”

Rather than dwell on that first success, Chorba, the Knights' starting third baseman as a freshman, is keeping her run going. She added a double later in that first game, a 6-1 victory over Franklin Regional, and hit another home run and picked up a win as a relief pitcher in a 13-10 victory at Hempfield last week.

She added another victory to her pitching total on Monday, allowing just one hit as the Knights (3-0, 2-0 Section 1-AAAA) beat Woodland Hills, 14-0, in nonsection play.

“(She's having) an incredible performance for a freshman,” Norwin coach Andy Phipps said. “For anybody, it's a great performance. We're really proud of what she's doing so far.”

Chorba is the latest freshman to make an impact for the Norwin softball team. Two seasons ago, catcher Maddy Wensel led the Knights in hitting as they won the first section championship in program history. Last year, Christiana Skrabak was one of the team's top batters.

“I'm going to play who I feel are the strongest girls, freshman or not,” Phipps said after the Franklin Regional game. “I knew that she had some power, but I hadn't seen that (type of power) yet. I was excited to see that.”

Chorba said she was able to hit the ground running as a freshman thanks to years of playing travel softball. The team she plays for, the Elizabeth-based PA Renegades, won the Triple Crown Sports Summer Nationals last summer in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“(Playing varsity softball) wasn't really nerve-wracking,” she said. “I've been playing travel ball for about seven years now. My dad has helped me since I was little. That's really why I love softball, because he got me into everything. I just thank him a lot for that.”

Phipps said Chorba's confidence helps her greatly as a player. She remained confident even when she entered the game against Hempfield with the Knights trailing, 8-3, in the first inning. She held the Spartans, a perennial section contender, to two runs over the final five innings as the Knights rallied for a key victory.

“I was thinking that I was going to bring the team up and bring (starting pitcher) Maddy (Miller) up too because she was struggling a little bit; they kept hitting off her,” Chorba said. “I was pretty confident in what I was doing. I was pretty confident the team was going to do better and (confident that Phipps) putting me in was a good choice because I was ready.”

Phipps said Chorba could see more time as a pitcher this season along with Miller, junior Hannah O'Block and freshman Johnna Karas.

In the meantime, Chorba will man third base as the Knights look for another section title.

“We've still got to continue to work hard,” she said. “It's great that we've won these first two games, and I think that's a boost to our confidence. But we've still got to work hard.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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