Boys baseball


Megan Barry

The team huddles together on the mound during a timeout.

Megan Barry, Sports Editor

(The week of May 3)

No set backs

     The most important games of the year is quite an understatement. The Norwin Knights took on Hempfield this week to hopefully secure their spot as conference champions.

Jacob Bazala prepares to pitch the ball. (Megan Barry)

     Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania  weather was not cooperating for the past two weeks. So because of the weather and other COVID reasons, the boys went an entire week without playing a game of baseball. 

     “I think the delays due to various different reasons, were frustrating but good for the team,” said senior pitcher Jacob Bazala. “It allowed the team to focus on our first game back no matter who it was against.”

      Just like the boys expected, the week without games was not a set back for the team. Norwin beat Hempfield 3-0 on May 5. Bazala was on the mound for the Knights and pitched 6 shutout innings with 7 strikeouts. Along with a great performance from Bazala, seniors Alex Gabauer and Landon DiBeradin and juniors Ty Stecko and Jack Whalen, had an amazing game awell. 

     “Like I have said before, the pitcher sets the tempo for the game. If the pitcher is on his game and is able to make the innings quick, the energy is all ours,” said Bazala. “I started off a little rough, but our defense and bats had my back. After the first two innings, we were solid after that.” 

     Even though the start of the game was not the start the team was hoping for, they were still able to come out victorious. This is exactly the win the boys needed to maintain the confidence they had already developed earlier in the season. And heading into the second game of the series against Hempfield, the boys had no doubts. 

     Although the boys had no doubts heading into the second game of the series, their confidence was not enough to beat Hempfield a second time. On May 8, the boys lost the second game with a score of 4-1. The only run scored was from a  home run by Ty Stecko. Obviously this is not the game the boys have planned for, but they must move on and prepare for the playoffs.

Landon Diberadin prepares to catch a pitch. (Megan Barry)

     “Many people’s expectations for the Norwin Knights, is to win the WPIALs and possibly move onto states. I believe the team’s expectation is to hold everyone accountable,” said Bazala. “If everyone does their job, whether it be getting timely hits or throwing strikes consistently, we will be unstoppable. We are focused on winning any game put in front of us.”

     After the Knights tied their series against Hempfield, they left the regular season as tied section champions with Hempfield. The boys went 7-3 in the section games. But their focus now is the playoffs. 

     The entire team is confident in how they play as a team and they know these last couple of losses are not set backs. Now they have to take that confidence and build upon it as they head into the playoffs. 

     The expectations are set high for the Knights, and with the confidence they have and continuing to have a strong mindset, the boys will have an extremely successful off season. 

(The week of May 3.)

All gas no breaks

     The Norwin boys baseball team took on another tough competition this week. They competed against Upper Saint Clair for the fourth section series of the year. 

     Heading into the game on Monday April 26, the team had high energy from coming off their previous wins. That high energy helped the team secure the win with a score of 7-3.

Alex Gabauer prepares to hit the ball. (Megan Barry)

     “We got to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Stay focused and don’t let off the gas pedal,” said Alex Gabauer. “Every person has a job and an opportunity on this team. As long as each person sticks to what they have to do, we will continue to be successful.”

    With nobel performances from seniors Eric Chorba, Justin Turkovski, Nick Flemming, Jayden Walker, Jacob Bazala and juniors Ty Stecko and Jack Whalen: the win was a long winded but not too much of a challenge for the team. 

     “We have to keep pounding forward. Each game is just as important as the last,” said Gabauer. “Not one play can be taken for granted. We have to put in 110% effort at every practice and game.”

     The boys continue to play with a dedicated, hardworking, and determined mindset. With this strong mindset for every game, the boys are having a beyond successful season.

     But with multiple days with no games, due to weather conditions, the Knights had to perfect and remember the strong mindset they have maintained the entire season. 

     Unfortunately, the boys struggled to keep that mentality for the second game of the series against Upper Saint Clair. After a long back and forth game the boys came short after Upper Saint Clair hit a two run walk off to end the game with a score of 6-5. Although the boys lost, it did not change their mindset heading into their next game. 

     “Absolutely nothing changes about our mindset, as we are always looking to continue forward and go 100%,” said Gabauer. “Each game we go in with the full intent to win.”

     Although the boys did not play the way they wanted to, they are not disappointed in themselves. The knights know they can not dwell on this loss. The boys plan to move on and prepare for their second game of the series against Hempfield, as they fight for the title of section champions. 

     “We expect the energy to be high and come out swinging. This is our shot to take and own the section title,” said Gabauer. “As a team, we need to continue to stick together, not everyone has been given their shot yet, and can’t be let down. They may be needed in the biggest moment, and moments like that are always going to come.”

     Even though the boys did not end their series with Upper Saint Clair like they had wished, they are still prepared to maintain their strong mindset and win the section title against Hempfield. 

(The week of April 19.)

A walk in the park

     Canon-Mac. Just like any other team in 6A baseball, the Canon-Mac baseball team is overall tough competition. 

     On April 19, the Norwin baseball team played their first of the series against Canon-Mac. What was expected to be a hard game, ended up being a walk in the park by the third inning. 

     With great offensive play and fabulously 6 innings on the mound by Jacob Bazala, the boys were able to run-rule Canon-Mac in the sixth inning with a score of 10-0.

Gabauer and Walker knell together during a timeout. (Megan Barry)

     “I think we are all good as a whole, from the top to the bottom of the lineup, we are all producing hits when needed,” said senior first baseman Jayden Walker. “The final of the Canon-Mac game shows that we play well together, as a team.”

     The boys are coming together to play as one team. Offensively, everyone is making contact with the ball when expected to. With a homerun from Jake Kendro, multiple deep hit balls by Eric Chorba, Alex Gabauer, Nick Flemming, Landon Diberadin, and Jack Whalen on Monday, hitting the ball is not an issue for the team. Defensively, all the boys are working hard each play to stand behind their pitcher and end the innings 3 up, 3 down. On Monday, there were multiple double plays and great diving plays to get the team out of a rough inning.

     This easy win in the first game of the series gave the team even more confidence than they already possessed. With this confidence and the skill of each player on the team the boys were extremely prepared for the second game.

     The dedicated skill and team work definitely came together on April 20 for the second game of the series against Canon-Mac. The boys walked away victorious from a back and forth game with a score of 5-4. 

     Chase Kranitz started on the mound for the Knights and Zach Potthoff came in as relief and pitched a great 5 innings to finish the game. Along with great pitching the boys defense was playing hard to hold back Canon-Mac from gaining too much of a lead. But offensively the boys were on point again. Jake Kendro, Jack Whalen, Ty Stecko, Nick Flemming, Alex Gabauer, and Eric Chorba all hit the ball when needed and held the Canon-Mac back.

Walker prepares to field a ball. (Megan Barry)

     “I thought we played really well together today,” said senior pitcher Zach Potthoff. “The offense put up some goot at-bats and strung together some nice innings offensively and defensively.” 

     The boys conference record is 5-1 and their overall record is 8-1 but they are not ready to relax. The team is prepared to continue to work together to keep this win streak alive. 

     “Our goal is to make a good run throughout the rest of the season and into the postseason,” said Potthoff. “To do that, we are going to continue taking it one game at a time.” 

     Taking it one game at a time. That is exactly the boys plan as they head into the next conference series against Upper Saint Clair.                

(The week of April 12.) 

One unit

    This week’s competition is a tough one but not an impossible competition. The Norwin Baseball team’s conference series this week is against Mount Lebanon. Lebo is a tough competition who will put up a fight against the boys.

      After one conference win and many other non-conference wins under their belts, the team has confidence in taking on Lebo this week. 

     The boys played, April 13, at Lebo. As a whole, the team is prepared to come back from their loss against Baldwin and sweep this conference series.

Senior Alex Gabauer preparing to field a ball. (Megan Barry)

     “Tonight our team is looking to go out and put on a high energy performance,” said senior second baseman Alex Gabauer. “As long as we do our individual jobs and push each other to do out best, we will be successful.” 

     The energy is high throughout the entire team, especially after the rain pushed back the series start. But having an extra day of practice did not hurt the boys. In a close back and forth game the team was able to beat Lebo 2-1.

     “It’s a great game to win on the road. We are playing as one and competing one pitch at a time,” said Gabauer. “Our offense did well, and connected when we needed it to and Bazala had an excellent day on the mound to lead us into a victory.”    

     Senior Jacob Bazala pitched a great 7 innings with a total of 78 pitches, 7 strikeouts, and only 2 hits. With Bazala throwing a great game, the defense was able to stay relaxed and focus on their offensive play. The team was able to generate hits when needed, which sent them into the next Lebo game with even more confidence. 

     On April 16, the boys walked away from Lebo victorious again. At the start of the first inning, the team immediately began generating offensive play. As the game progressed, everyone in the lineup was making contact and scoring runs. In the third inning there were 4 homeruns from seniors Jayden Walker, Nick Flemming, Alex Gabauer, and junior Jake Kendro. This great outcome from the third inning generated motivation for the team throughout the remainder of the game. The team worked as one unit and beat Lebo 11-1. 

     “I think now that we have beat Lebo by 10 it gives us a good amount of confidence moving forward,” said senior pitcher Zach Potthoff. “Beating a good opponent always helps both the offense and pitching find a groove, which is important heading further into section competition.”

The team huddles together on the mound during a timeout. (Megan Barry)

     A lack of confidence is something the team has not struggled with the entire year. Winning more and more games only takes their confidence and moves it up as a whole. Now the boys must be prepared to carry this confidence with them into the Canon-Mac section series. 

     “We know competition is really good this year, so our mindset is always the same,” said Potthoff. “We focus on winning one game at a time, so we’re concentrated on that first game right now. After that, then we can look towards the second game.”

     Although the team is continuing to win, their mindset remains the same. The boys are continuing to play one game at a time and not focusing too much on the end goal. The team is prepared to take on Canon-Mac on April 19 and 20, and those two games are their only focus. 

     “The team is looking to make a good run throughout the entirety of the season and into the postseason,” said Potthoff. “But, we know that we have to remain focused on each of our section games to exceed far into the postseason.”

     And the boys are prepared to do just that. As they continue to work as one unit and develop as a team, they will continue to win one game at a time, and that is exactly their goal. 


(The week of April 5.) 

Up to bat after 686 days

     After a long 686 days since the last game, the Norwin Knights Baseball team played their first games against Baldwin. It has been a long and eager wait for the boys.

     “It feels great to be back, there is nothing better than getting to go outside and play the game you love with your teammates,” said senior pitcher Jacob Bazala. “We all have worked hard and prepared ourselves to finally be able to play school ball again.”

     Although the wait was long, the boys did not lose their skill. The team was beyond prepared for the first conference game. They played Baldwin on April 6. and beat them with ease. Norwin walked away with a run-rule win in the 5th inning, with a score of 10-0. 

     “It’s a great feeling to come back and already win, but it is nothing too special. We know who we are and the skills we possess,” said senior catcher/outfielder Eric Chorba. “We are all great players who know how to win, so these first few wins is nothing to get excited about. We have a long road ahead and need to keep the foot on the gas.”

Eric Chorba preparing to steal second base. (Megan Barry)

     The first conference win against Baldwin on April 6, Bazala pitched a no hitter and a total of 8 strikeouts to wrap up the game pretty quickly.

     “The pitcher is in control of the game. He determines the pace and the initial mood of the game,” said Bazala. “If the pitcher is able to do well and keep a solid pace it will affect the team positively. We all would be able to play more loose and enjoy the game more. This usually results in all around better play.” 

     Although the boys played extremely well on April 6, you can’t win every game. On April 7, Norwin lost their second game to Baldwin 4-3. 

     “We played well, we just didn’t produce any offense and hit the ball when we needed to,” said Chorba. “We know what we need to work in order to win the next conference game against Mount Lebo.”

     Overall, the baseball team has come back, after a long stretch of not playing school ball, prepared to win. Each player is willing to do whatever is necessary to continue to win.

Jacob Bazala preparing to pitch. (Megan Barry)

     “To us, the end isn’t a specific game or title. However far our abilities and chemistry takes us will determine the end,” said Chorba. “We aren’t focused on the end goal, we move through the season one game at a time, then prepare for the next one. Ultimately the goal is to win, but our focus is strictly one game at a time, not the end goal.”

     The season has just begun and there is plenty of time to pick back up the team’s momentum and strive to win.

     “I think this start to the season is showing everyone that we aren’t just a team full of ‘commits’ but a team full of athletes,” said Bazala. “The team definitely has and plays with a lot of confidence, but do not let that fool you. We are constantly working on our craft and trying to get better because we all want the same thing, and that is to win.”