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Norwin Knights shine in win over Kiski Area

| Friday, April 18, 2014,

Playing without a full roster, the Norwin softball team still found its way to first place in Section 1-AAAA on Thursday.

Christiana Skrabak homered and had three RBIs, and the Knights overcame the absence of four starters who were attending a school-sponsored trip to beat visiting Kiski Area 9-5.

Erin Linhart had three hits and scored four runs, while seldom-used right-hander Hannah O'Block, Norwin's regular right fielder, pitched a complete game.

Norwin coach Andy Phipps juggled his lineup, inserting O'Block at pitcher, because of a shortage of varsity players. The Knights were missing four senior starters — pitcher/outfielder Maddy Miller, second baseman Lindsey Robinson, first baseman Nikki Berardinelli and designated player Raeann Sleith — who were in Chicago for a National Honor Society function.

“When you're down that many starters and you get a win in the section, you've got to be happy,” Phipps said. “We put together the best possible lineup and we were confident with it going into the game.”

Norwin (6-1, 5-1) moved past Latrobe into the top spot in the section after the Wildcats were beaten by Connellsville 1-0. Latrobe and Hempfield are tied for second with 5-2 section marks, and Norwin next is scheduled to play at Latrobe on Monday in a rematch of the Knights' 3-1 victory on April 9.

Norwin overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1, going ahead for good 5-3 in the third on a two-run homer by the sophomore Skrabak, who also doubled in a run in the first to put Norwin ahead 2-1.

It was Skrabak's third home run of the year.

The Knights expanded the lead to 9-3 with two runs in each in the fifth and sixth innings.

O'Block, who entered the game having pitched just three innings this season, gave up five hits, struck out eight batters and walked three.

“For her to come in and perform the way she did, it was a big boost for us,” Phipps said. “I told all the girls who were either regulars playing out of position or players who don't see much time that now is their chance. They did a nice job.”

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

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