Norwin beats Upper St. Clair, makes up ground in section

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Tuesday, April 26, 2022 | 8:56 PM


Here comes Norwin.

After losing four of five and getting swept by Canon-McMillan, the Knights are back in the playoff conversation in Section 2-6A — and back to .500 — after a sweep of their own.

Seniors Jake Kendro and Ty Stecko homered, and senior Sebastian Rosado-Guindin pitched 623 innings of three-hit baseball as Norwin took the second of two games from No. 3 Upper St. Clair, 7-3, on Tuesday in North Huntingdon.

“They’re a dangerous team,” Upper St. Clair coach Jeff Donati said of Norwin. “Their infield makes a ton of plays, and they hit. If they can throw strikes, they can be very good.”

Norwin (6-6, 4-4) also won 5-2 on Monday to snap the Panthers’ five-game winning streak. Stecko went 3 for 5 with a double in that game.

This time, he launched a two-run homer in the sixth to increase the Knights’ lead to 7-3 and give Rosado-Guindin a more comfortable lead with which to work.

The big lefty from Puerto Rico quieted the Upper St. Clair (7-4, 5-3) lineup after a shaky third inning.

“We’re trying to put it all together, our offense, defense and pitching,” said Stecko, a Mount St. Mary’s commit who has four home runs and 20 RBIs. “We’ve been starting to do that lately.”

Surprisingly, Rosado-Guindin came in with two outs in a pressure-mounting first to spell senior Noah Czajkowski, who had control problems and loaded the bases before the quick hook.

With one pitch, Rosado-Guindin got the a flyout to end the threat and keep it a 1-0 game.

“This is a big one to get,” Norwin coach Mike Liebdzinski said of the series. “Noah just needs to get his confidence back. We know what he can do. Sebastian was solid. I told him to go out and throw strikes. If you do that behind a good defense, good things will happen.

“The last two games, we’ve had big hits in key moments.”

An efficient Rosado-Guindin, an IUP recruit, went on to strike out six and walk one on 69 pitches.

He also pitched 113 innings Monday.

Game 2 looked like it was going to go back and forth early on before Norwin pulled away.

Norwin took a 2-1 lead in the second on a two-run single by senior Jack Whalen, who went 2 for 3. The Panthers tied it on a run-scoring double to right by senior Brandon Liokareas, a Seton Hill commit.

Junior Hunter Schroeck grounded out to knock in another run and make it 3-2 Panthers.

All three USC hits came in the inning, all in a row. But they managed just one runner after the third.

Kendro, a Tennessee commit, clubbed his third homer of the spring off the scoreboard in right to tie it 3-3 in the bottom of the inning.

“This helps us and gives us momentum,” Kendro said of the sweep. “We are gaining confidence and starting to come together.”

Then, after senior Christian Minto doubled to center, junior Chris Slatt grounded out to score a run before senior Jake Awenowicz’s sacrifice fly gave the Knights a 5-3 advantage.

“We played Friday and Saturday, and that really depleted us pitching-wise,” Donati said. “We used two pitchers who were seeing their first varsity experience. They came in and battled. (Monday) we were four outs away from a win. It was a good effort.”

Junior Owen Mandler took the loss for USC.

Akron commit Mateo Cepullio did not play for the Panthers as he rested an injury.

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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