Norwin girls can't slow Hempfield
Norwin softball coach Andy Phipps worried about Monday's Section 1-AAAA game against red-hot Hempfield.
“This was prom weekend, and I was worried we wouldn't be focused,” Phipps said.
Phipps quickly realized his concern was warranted.
Hempfield (15-4, 10-2) pounded out 12 hits and chased starting pitcher Jamie Robinson in the third inning en route to a 10-0, five-inning victory. The Norwin (14-3, 10-2) loss leaves the teams as co-champions.
It's not the way Phipps wanted his team to end the regular season.
“This was an eye-opener for the girls, and it showed them we have work to do,” Phipps said. “We have a week to get ourselves ready, and when our number is called to play, we'll be ready to go.”
When Norwin defeated Hempfield, 6-1, on April 3, the Knights took advantage of three errors and got timely hits.
Yesterday, it was Hempfield that banged out the big hits. Since that loss, the Spartans have won 13 of 14 games.
“We didn't want second place in the section, we wanted a tie for first,” winning pitcher Karilynn Null said. “Norwin is a good hitting team, and my defense helped me out a lot.
“The key was good hitting on our part. The last time we played them, we didn't hit. We didn't have our game.”
Null, who allowed six hits and two walks, was backed by a strong defense and timely hitting.
Hempfield's defense picked off a runner and only committed one error, while leadoff hitter Alaina Montgomery and the last three batters (Null, Caitlin Tobin and Callie Madden) in the lineup also keyed the win.
Those four batters combined to go 8 for 8, eight runs scored, and four RBI.
“They hit the ball better than we did,” Phipps said. “The bottom of the order was huge for them.”
Norwin loaded the bases in the top of the first inning, but Null got Nikki Berardinelli to ground out.
Norwin's Abbey Zorzi went 3 for 3 against Null, but the Knights were 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
“We hit the ball hard, but we hit it right at them,” Phipps said. “We had a couple chances, and we made some base-running mistakes. It was one of those days, and they hit the ball very good.”
Montgomery opened the scoring in the first inning when she doubled off the center field fence and scored on a ground out by Justyne Falbo.
In the next inning, Madden tripled home courtesy runner Taylor Kusma and Tobin to key the six-run outburst.
Montgomery doubled home a pair in the third inning.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5095 or email@example.com.