H.S. notebook: Norwin SS Jake Kendro commits to Tennessee

Saturday, October 12, 2019 | 7:32 PM

An impressive workout at a summer showcase will afford Jake Kendro the opportunity to showcase his talents at the highest level of college baseball.

The sophomore middle infielder from Norwin began drawing interest from Tennessee after coaches saw him at a Perfect Game event in July in Georgia.

An offer followed, and on Tuesday, Kendro gave the Volunteers a verbal commitment.

Kendro, recruited as a shortstop, also had offers from Missouri, Virginia Tech and Xavier.

He said schools like his power and quick hands.

“It’s always been my goal to play at the highest level of college baseball,” Kendro said. “With the SEC, I will be competing against some of the best teams in the country.”

Kendro is the second Norwin player to choose a Division I program in less than a month. Junior Alex Gabauer committed to Penn last month.

“I chose the Vols because of their beautiful campus, coaching staff, they are in the SEC — and I wanted to play at a high level,” Kendro said.

Norwin has produced 18 Division I players in 16 seasons under coach Mike Liebdzinski and his staff.

“He has all the physical skills required to play the game at a high level,” Liebdzinski said. “Most raw power I’ve seen at Norwin at his age other than (JJ) Matijevic. Most athletic other than (Max) McDowell. He has all the tools. He is still learning but definitely has a chance to be a good one.”

Kendro and Matijevic are the only players to start as freshmen at Norwin under Liebdzinski.

Flood City Elite coach Mike Finley also sees long-term potential in Kendro, one of his travel players.

“He’s a great kid and has busted his tail over the past year-and-a-half to get where he’s at,” Finley said.

Gorscak to Niagara

Former Hempfield hockey standout Christian Gorscak finished his high school education online and graduated last year.

Next up is a college degree for the rising prospect.

Gorscak announced he will continue his career at Division I Niagara.

Gorscak currently is playing his third season in the NAHL with the Johnstown Tomahawks.

He played four years with the Esmark Stars of the NAPHL before arriving in Johnstown.

“My goal was to try to use hockey as a way to get an education and become a better person and student,” Gorscak said. “Hopefully this will give me an opportunity to play professional hockey one day.”

Gorscak said he will begin classes in 2021 but, “that could change.”

He led Hempfield in 2017 with 15 goals and 24 assists in 15 games. The same year, he erupted for 100 points (48 goals, 52 assists) for the Esmark 16-U Midget League team.

Gorscak has 19 goals and 29 assists in two-plus seasons with Johnstown, which opened its schedule in September.

Kozusko steps down

Latrobe is looking for a new softball coach after the resignation of Rick Kozusko, who said he left the program for personal reasons.

He said he would coach three years and then evaluate his situation.

Kozusko was 38-21 with two WPIAL finals appearances — a pair of runners-up to Hempfield — and two PIAA playoff trips.

PIAA golf qualifiers

The PIAA Western Regional golf tournaments will be Tuesday at Tom’s Run Golf Course in Blairsville.

Eight players from Westmoreland County will compete: senior Mario Battaglia of Latrobe, junior Chuck Tragesser of Franklin Regional and junior Alex Turowski of Penn-Trafford in boys Class AAA; Derry senior Aidan Bushey and senior Tim Pisula of Mt. Pleasant in Class AA; and the Greensburg Central Catholic girls trio in Class AA of sophomores Ella and Meghan Zambruno and junior Angelika Dewicki.

The top 10 Class AAA boys, top 22 Class AA boys, top five AAA girls and top 11 AA girls qualify for the PIAA championships Oct. 21-22 at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

Volleyball rankings

Penn-Trafford senior outside hitter Bella Long and Hempfield senior libero Peydon Lisenbigler were named Class AAAA Players of the Week by the Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.

The association’s latest rankings show Franklin Regional at No. 4 in Class AAA, Greensburg Central Catholic at No. 5 in Class A and Derry at No. 7 in Class AA.

Norwin is No. 9, and Hempfield is 10 in Class AAAA.

Derry opening

Derry is seeking a softball coach after the resignation of Pat Meloy, who led the Trojans for five years.

Derry was 24-47 with three playoff appearances under Meloy.


Belle Vernon senior basketball player Rachel Wobrak received an offer to play at Carlow. The 5-foot-10 Wobrak is a guard/forward for the Leopards.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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