Norwin softball swings for the section title

The Norwin Lady Knights are looking to take the WPIAL 6A section title as the season winds down.


Norwin seniors Madie Kessler, (left) Emma Novotnak, (center) and Alyssa McCormick (right) pose for professional senior photos. (Emma Novotnak/Mary Genrich Visuals)

The Norwin Lady Knights Softball team is red hot through 16 games and continue to hit, and pitch, their way to victory. Lead by senior contributors Alyssa McCormick, Emma Novotnak and Madie Kessler, the Knights are 13-3 overall and 11-2 in conference play. Norwin is just 1 game back of Seneca Valley in the WPIAL section 6A standings.

The Lady Knights softball team opened the 2022-23 season with a heart-breaking loss for the Knights on the road at Latrobe, as they were defeated on a walk-off home run in the 8th inning. After the road loss, the Lady Knights went on a 4-game winning streak in late March early April, outscoring their opponents by a total score of 47-13 during the streak.

In the sixth game of the season, Norwin would play their toughest opponent so far, as Seneca Valley hosted the Lady Knights on Apr. 4. The Raiders took down the Knights 4-0. This game, however, would be a turning point for the Knights.

Madie Kessler poses for a picture after hitting a 2-run home run against Mt. Lebanon (NorwinSoftball/Twitter)

“There was a lot of doubt in ourselves that game,” said senior Madie Kessler. “There was a change in our mood, we wanted to leave everything out on the field. The locker room definitely changed from that day forward.”

The seventh game of the season was tied 4-4 against the Pine-Richland Rams when, all of a sudden, Alyssa McCormick came to the plate with 2 on in the bottom of the 4th and smashed a 3-run home run of the left field fence. This put the Lady Knights up 7-4 and ended at the same score in a hard fought victory to get back on track to improve the record to 5-2 at this point of the season.

As the Lady Knights head into the midpoint of the season, there was a change of pace for the Lady Knights and the bats really caught fire as Norwin exploded for a 9-2 victory over Baldwin. Not only was Norwin’s pitching strong with McCormick pitching 7 strong innings, but the bats were ablaze with senior contributor Emma Novotnak going 3-4 with 4 RBIs in the victory.

Pullquote Photo

“We have been consistently getting better. We are up to 166 runs scored this year and given up only 63. The girls are resilient and hopefully this is a sign for a championship team.”

— Head Coach Mr. Mesich

Norwin then went on the road in game 10 against North Allegheny. Through the first 4 innings, the Tigers were up 7-0. Nothing seemed to be going the Lady Knights way. After this, however, a spark was ignited thanks to a 3-run shot by Junior Josey Michalski. The rally continued with 5 runs in the 6th and 2 more in the 7th to complete the comeback 10-7. Norwin proved that even when the pressure is on, they are ready for anything.

Junior Josey Michalski celebrating a home run after an 11-1 victory against Butler.

“I believe so much in this team,” exclaimed Michalski. “I knew that we needed someone or something to start the spark and it started with me. Hitting is contagious for this team and once we started to rally back, we weren’t going to stop. The adrenaline was very high and there was just so much excitement.”

On the second half of the season, Norwin faced arguably their most important opponent and rival, #1 Hempfield. Hempfield knocked the Knights out of the playoffs just a year ago and Norwin looked for revenge.


Alyssa McCormick’s grand slam in the 3rd inning indicated something was different this time around.  Following her explosive home run came a solo shot from Sophomore Rachel Minteer bringing the Norwin lead to 5-2.  The Lady Knights would continue this momentum to a 10-3 lead into the 7th. In the 7th, Hempfield scored 5 runs to come back to make the game close before Norwin finished the lineup in a 10-8 victory.

In 2 out of their last 3 games, the Lady Knights beat the #1 and #2 teams in 6A respectfully and jumped to the #1 spot in the standings after 12 games. Norwin would keep this up in game 12 against Canon McMillan on Apr. 19. After 4 innings of play, the Lady Knights once again trailing and in a position to comeback. That’s exactly what they did as a barrage of runs including home runs from Josey Michalski and Madie Kessler helped spark a 14-5 route of the Big Macs.

The home runs would keep coming for Kessler and Michalski as they went yard in each in their next 2 games. With home runs from Emma Novotnak and Izzy Deering over the next 2, the Knights would see wins against Butler and Baldwin by scores of 11-1 and 15-5 respectively. During this stretch, the Knights were preparing for their Apr. 26 re-match against Seneca Valley. This game would air on Westmoreland Sports Network and was a much anticipated matchup between the 2 heavyweights in WPIAL 6A.

WPIAL standings from the Post-Gazette as of May 1.

A quick run in the 2nd inning was all the Raiders needed as Seneca Valley took down the then #1 Knights. McCormick put together 7 strong innings of pitching and continued to show her strength on the mound. Just as the other times throughout the season Norwin had lost, they bounced back stronger than before.

Josey Michalski, (left) Madie Kessler, (center) and Alyssa McCormick (right) pose with their game balls after a win against Pine-Richland.

After the loss against Seneca Valley, Norwin traveled to Pine-Richland on Apr. 28. The Knights took care of business and made it look easy with a 12-5 victory on the road. Madie Kessler hits 2 home runs in a 4-4 performance which saw the senior record 4 RBIs. Josey Michalski and Alyssa McCormick added to the home run parade with McCormick’s 3 run shot, and Michalski’s 2 run blast. McCormick also reached the 100+ strikeout plateau and now has 106Ks on the year.

The Lady Knights are full steam ahead with just 4 games left in the regular season. Norwin sits at number 2 in the section and are ready to make a push for the section title as the season rapidly comes to a close.

The remainder of their games go as follows. May 5: @ Mt. Lebanon, May 8: vs. Hempfield, May 9: @ Fox Chapel, and May 10: vs. North Allegheny.