Norwin Hands Plum First Loss in WPIAL Quad-A Finals Upset
Thursday, June 2, 2016 | 1:34 AM
The year of the upset continues in the WPIAL, however the nightcap of Wednesday action may have been the biggest shocker as the 14th seeded Norwin Knights defeated the previously unbeaten Plum Mustangs, 7-3.
The Knights got off to a very hot start, a leadoff single by Dan Kiester was followed by a walk and a single by Reno Rainey loaded the bases early.
Plum pitcher, Alex Kirilloff walked in one of those runs before Jonathon Pringee crushed a base clearing triple to give the Knights a 4-0 lead in the first. A few pitches later, Brad Lucas brought in Pringee on a hard single to give Norwin a 5-0 lead.
Norwin pitcher, Chad Coles began his outing just as well as his offense, shutting down the Mustangs in order leaving the score 5-0 after one.
Neither team managed much offense in the second, although two walks helped the Knights load the bases but no harm was done as they left them loaded.
The Mustangs continued to struggle in the bottom of the 2nd and the score remained 5-0, Norwin.
In the top of the 3rd, Jon Lochiatto grounded into the fielder’s choice and eventually advanced to third on a balk and a stolen base. He later scored after an error which gave the Knights a commanding 6-0 lead.
However, the Mustangs were not going to go down without a fight. With a runner on first and one out, Alex Kirliloff crushed a no-doubt shot over the right field fence cutting the Norwin lead to 6-2 after three innings of play.
In the fourth, momentum started to shift in the favor of the nationally recognized Mustangs. Zach Nolan was shutting down the Knights offense since entering in relief. Plum tacked on another run by way of a Michael Anderson RBI single which cut Norwin’s lead in half at 6-3 after four full.
Norwin couldn’t add insurance, nor could Plum cut into the deficit in the fifth. The score remained 6-3 after five.
With one out in the top of the 6th, Norwin first baseman Reno Rainey stepped up to the plate looking to add to his impressive outing, 2 for 2 with a stolen base in his previous appearances. With a 1-0 count, Rainey completed his outstanding night at the plate, crushing a solo shot to right as he increased the Knights lead to 7-3.
In the final frame, Plum turned to their fourth pitcher of the night in Ethan Winesburgh who shut down Norwin to hold the score at 7-3. However, Coles blew past Kirilloff, Taylor Vivino and Alex Terrell to cement his squad in the WPIAL history books.
Coles was awarded the triumph as he went the distance, while striking out eight, allowing five hits and three runs while the loss goes to Alex Kirilloff, who went one and two thirds, striking out three, walking four while allowing five hits and five runs.
Both squads will continue their respective seasons and begin another quest beginning on June 6th as they chase PIAA gold. Norwin will face rival Hempfield while Plum awaits the winner of the Erie McDowell/Mifflin County game.
More Baseball• Norwin’s Noah Czajkowski commits to St. Bonaventure
• North Allegheny AD Bozzuto pitches regular season baseball tournaments in PIAA board debut
• Laurel Highlands baseball coach DeBerry dies following stomach cancer diagnosis
• Created out of pandemic necessity, league plays ball for a 2nd summer
• Westmoreland notebook: WPIAL champs head to PNC Park; lacrosse players hit big stage