Norwin completes much-needed sweep of Central Catholic

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Thursday, April 25, 2024 | 8:45 PM


In an 8-4 victory over Central Catholic that gave Norwin its first three-game Section 2-6A sweep of the WPIAL baseball season, Nate Silberman may have epitomized the Knights’ push for a playoff spot, maybe even their identity, with one swing of the bat and a mad dash around the bases.

The junior shortstop ripped a drive down the left field line and sprinted around first base, and then second, in the bottom of the fourth inning Thursday in North Huntingdon.

Eager to turn a double into a triple, Silberman was tagged out at third.

Not the result he wanted, but his game-tying RBI double was another example of how Norwin doesn’t see limitations, only opportunities.

It is clear the Knights (8-7, 6-5) aren’t going to slow down without a fight, or without trying.

If they lose three in a row, like they did, they have the ability to bounce back with a three-game win streak.

Conversely, Central Catholic (7-9, 4-8) has dropped three straight after winning three in a row.

Norwin is now 2.5 games ahead of Central for fourth place in the section. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs.

“We’re going to bring it and we’re going to go to battle,” said Silberman, who was 2 for 4. “We knew we needed at least two (wins in the series). We got the first one and kept going.”

Despite falling behind 3-1 after senior catcher and West Virginia commit Gavin Kelly launched a three-run, opposite-field home run in the third inning, Norwin rallied, taking advantage of nine walks and two hit batsmen, while getting timely hits.

“We knew we had to get our bats going,” senior leadoff hitter Keegan Carr said. “And we trusted (junior pitcher Ethen Culbertson). We kept our focus.”

After Silberman’s double, Norwin went ahead 5-3 in the fifth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by junior Jake Sincak and an RBI single by junior Jackson Huss.

Huss finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs, while Carr had two hits and three runs scored on senior day.

Sincak drove in a pair to help back Culbertson’s win.

Culbertson allowed only three hits and struck out six.

A wild pitch allowed a run to score, and five straight walks brought home another in a long sixth for the Vikings, who used three pitchers in junior Liam Pekarsky, sophomore Josh McFadden and sophomore Matt Foti.

Huss knocked in a run with a single to make it 8-3.

“Our kids knew there was a lot of baseball left,” Norwin coach Craig Spisak said of Kelly’s homer. “It’s part of the game. They were confident and had a good approach at the plate. They kept battling. Ethen showed a lot of poise on the mound. Trust me, he didn’t want to come out.”

Norwin had a little trouble closing out the Vikings. Back-to-back errors and a walk allowed Central to load the bases in the seventh and chase Culbertson.

But the damage was minimal as only CJ Proch could knock in a run, with a sacrifice fly.

Junior Matt Rivera came on in relief and closed out the Vikings.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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