Norwin notebook: Kessler’s home run trot a familiar sight for Knights

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Saturday, May 15, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Sophomore Madie Kessler wasn’t aiming for Route 30, but those who witnessed her towering home run against North Allegheny believe the ball might have landed on the highway below Norwin High School.

An umpire was even impressed, saying he hadn’t seen a ball hit that far.

Kessler’s tape-measure blast to straightaway center easily cleared the scoreboard and kept going … and going … as Norwin won 7-1.

The big-swinging yet soft-spoken outfielder, who plays catcher in travel softball, added two more homers the next game against Hempfield in a 10-0, five-inning win.

She upped her home run total to nine.

The Section 2 champion Knights — outright champs for the first time — won five in a row after a loss to Hempfield and peeled out to a commanding, four-game lead in the standings.

Kessler said seeing Hempfield’s pitcher, Callie Sowers, in the previous game allowed her to attack at the plate.

“It helped in just being able to know where she is throwing it and how she is throwing it,” Kessler said. “And the feedback from my first two batters; walking up there knowing what’s about to come at me.”

Norwin coach Brian Mesich had tears in his eyes talking about Kessler, saying she is one of the most genuinely nice players he has coached.

“I can’t say enough about her,” Mesich said. “She is a pleasure to coach; everything you could ask for in a person.”

Home runs have become a big part of Norwin’s offensive attack. The Knights had 16 through 14 games.

“I never thought we’d hit that many,” senior pitcher Sydney Lokay said. “But I knew we were all capable.”

Net gains

The Week 7 Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association Class AAA Top 10 poll features four Westmoreland teams.

Penn-Trafford occupies the No. 3 spot, while Hempfield is No. 4, Norwin No. 8 and Latrobe No. 10.

Norwin edged Latrobe in a recent match, 3-2, as JC Govannucci had 15 kills and Ethan Painter added 10.

The Knights handled Central Catholic, 3-0, as Painter (7) and Michael Fleming (5) combined for 12 kills.

Hockey stars

Three Norwin players were selected to play as PIHL all-stars. All are forwards.

Logan Fear, Ty Shigo and Alex Thomas were picked for the Class A all-star team.

Jubert to JCU

Norwin standout senior track and cross country runner Alex Jubert will continue his athletic career at John Carroll, a Division III school in University Heights, Ohio. Jubert will reunite with former Knights teammate Carson Shipley, who is a junior distance runner at John Carroll.

Sign of the times

Norwin honored a number of senior student-athletes who signed with colleges.

They are Brooke Alexander (track, St. Francis, Pa.), John Altieri (wrestling, Clarion), Seth Baiardi (swimming, Indiana), Megan Barry (track, Waynesburg), Jake Bazala (baseball, Mercyhurst), Lacey Bernick (soccer, Pitt), Bailee Bertani (softball, Robert Morris), Aleksandra Brozeski (track, Slippery Rock); Sal Cerilli (golf, Pitt-Johnstown), Eric Chorba (baseball, Longwood), Connor Chrisman (football, Slippery Rock), Nick Condrasky (lacrosse, Pennsylvania College of Technology), Landon DiBeradin (baseball, Mercyhurst), Natalie Diven (field hockey, Seton Hill), Anna Durmis (soccer, William & Mary), Nick Fleming (baseball, Mt. St. Mary’s), Alex Gabauer (baseball, Penn), Brooke Gast (volleyball, Shenandoah), Hunter Geibel (lacrosse, Allegheny), Hannah Geissler (lacrosse, Mt. Aloysius), Anthony Giansante (football, Western Carolina), Lauren Hall (soccer, Chatham), Cory Johnson (lacrosse, Pennsylvania College of Technology), Katelyn Kauffman (soccer, Pitt), Carly Kubacka (field hockey, Seton Hill), Tanner Krevokuch (football, Fairmont State), Jordan Kutchak (swimming, Clarion), Abigail Lichtenfels (volleyball, Shenandoah), Sydney Lokay (softball, Westminster), Cam Masten (lacrosse, Saint Vincent), Tommy McLaughlin (lacrosse, Saint Vincent), Kylie Mihalov (volleyball, Mt. Aloysius), Emilie Nelson (acro/tumbling, Baylor), Mara Polczynski (basketball, Grove City), Zach Potthoff (baseball, Swathmore), Joseph Rush (lacrosse, Walsh), Ryan Scavnicky (baseball, Franciscan), Morgan Sigut (soccer, Long Island), Lizzie Smeltzer (swimming, St. Francis, Pa.), Kennedy Soliday (soccer, Virginia Wesleyan), Courtney Spiering (lacrosse, LaRoche), Jordan Stein (volleyball, Waynesburg), Megan Swick (ice hockey, Stevenson), Justin Turcovski (baseball, Pitt-Johnstown), Jayden Walker (baseball, Mercyhurst), Elizabeth Waszkiewicz (softball, Fairmont State) and Sydney Willig (soccer, Geneva).

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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