No. 1 Norwin hoping execution catches up to expectations

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Saturday, April 17, 2021 | 11:01 AM


With the No. 1 ranking in the WPIAL — the No. 4 mark in the state in Class 6A — and enough college-level talent to beat the band, Norwin has earned the right to walk around with bravado.

But its play on the field, coach Mike Liebdzinski said, needs to catch up to the expectations.

Norwin isn’t running roughshod over everyone like some expected, which could be a combination of the rigors of good baseball in Class 6A and the Knights not fully maximizing their potential.

“We’re doing a lot of good things, but nothing that is overly impressive,” Liebdzinski said. “The talent and ability is there, but I think we have been mostly average in a lot of areas. Nothing would make you say, ‘wow.’”

Still, while the coaches aren’t oohing and aahing from the dugout, the Knights are winning. After an 11-2 victory at Penn-Trafford, they clipped Mt. Lebanon to move to 5-1. The bats were beginning to come alive.

Don’t get Liebdzinski wrong. He will take wins any way he can get them. But he sees some areas that need tweaking, things that could hinder progress down the road. A three-piece suit with wrinkles tends to lose its panache.

The Knights were striking out quite a bit early on, sometimes in undisciplined at-bats, and when they did get runners on base, they were having an issue leaving them there.

“Tons of guys,” Liebdzinski said. “Through five games, we left 50 on base. We’re not coming up with that big hit. We’ve had some hard outs.”

A deep pitching rotation is expected to be a strength and it certainly has had its moments.

Junior Noah Czajkowski, senior Luke Savage and senior Brady Kukich combined to no-hit Penn-Trafford.

Senior Jake Bazala did not allow a hit in a 10-0, five-inning win over Baldwin.

“The hitting is starting to catch up to the pitching and defense,” said senior Eric Chorba, who launched a three-run home run against Penn-Trafford. “To be successful, we need to start stringing hits together.”

Leadoff hitter Jack Whalen, a junior, said the Knights are at their best when the entire lineup is doing something, no matter how small, to get a runner over or knock in a run.

“We need to avoid strikeouts, put the ball in play and make things happen,” Whalen said. “We need to be aggressive with the first pitch.”

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

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