Norwin baseball stuns Hempfield with 2-out rally in 7th
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 | 9:23 PM
Baseball can be a cruel game. Just ask Hempfield.
The Spartans needed one out to secure a key Section 2-6A victory against rival Norwin on Wednesday, but they threw it away in a 5-2 loss.
After starting pitcher Shane Stuchell reached the 100-pitch limit with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Hempfield coach Tim Buzzard called on Tyler Dancu.
Dancu got Norwin designated hitter Nick Fleming to chase strike three in the dirt, forcing catcher John Malinak to throw to first base for what would have been the final out. The throw, however, pulled first baseman Mike Hosni off the bag, allowing Fleming to reach.
Then things started to unravel for the Spartans. A passed ball moved to Fleming to second base, and Logan Liebdzinski walked.
Sophomore pinch hitter Tanner Krevokuch then smacked a two-run double to give Norwin a 3-2 lead, and a wild pitch and throwing error plated two more runs as Norwin prevailed.
The Knights improved to 10-4 overall and 4-3 in Section 2, which is turning into a wild race. Norwin is in third place, and the Spartans (8-9, 3-5) are tied for fourth with Plum.
“I’ve never been involved in a loss like that before,” Buzzard said. “I feel badly for the players. Shane pitched a great game, and we played great defense for almost the entire game.”
Stuchell and Norwin sophomore Logan Divald were locked in a pitchers’ duel.
Divald allowed a two-run double to Hosni in the first inning, and that was it.
Norwin’s defense turned two double plays, including one that ended the game.
“We preach to our team that if you catch the ball, make the plays you’re supposed to and not walk people, you have a good chance at winning baseball games,” Norwin coach Mike Liebdzinski said. “Unfortunately for Hempfield, it had a costly mistake on a strikeout, and it walked the next batter and they were the tying and winning run in the last inning.
“It was a big situation for Tanner, and I was hesitant to put him in. But he’s been swinging the bat well lately. I thought it was a good move to go with ‘Kreve,’ and he came through for us.”
Krevokuch said his coach told him to look fastball.
“I pulled my head out on the first one, but I stayed on it and I didn’t miss it,” Krevokuch said. “It was an awesome feeling. Winning this game was a big deal because it helps our chances of making the playoffs.”
Divald pitched a complete game. He allowed six hits, struck out two and walked two.
“I just wanted to go out and throw strikes,” Divald said. “I’m glad my teammates were able to award me the win, and Kreve’s hit was huge. I’m thankful for that.”
Stuchell pitched 6 2/3 innings. He allowed one run, three hits, struck out seven and walked one.
“This is a tough one to lose,” Buzzard said. “We’ve lost some tough ones this season, but this is the hardest. We had our opportunities early and didn’t cash in.”
Luke Hudson led Hempfield with a triple and double. Fleming doubled for Norwin.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .