Norwin notebook: Softball team plays long ball in season’s opening weeks

Saturday, April 8, 2023 | 11:01 AM

The Norwin softball team continued its hot start with a 12-4 victory over Butler.

Emma Novotnak homered and drove in three runs, Holy Cross commit Bailey Snowberger also homered, and Alyssa McCormick had three hits and three RBIs on March 29.

The Lady Knights, who sat at 4-1, hit eight home runs in their first five games, including two each from Madie Kessler, Snowberger, and Novotnak, and one apiece from McCormick (grand slam), Josey Michalski, Rachel Minteer, and Izzy Deering.

McCormick also has been effective in the pitching circle.

Young and restless

Norwin alum Jacob Young is changing schools, which means he also is changing football teams.

Young is leaving Notre Dame College after one year. He took four years of eligibility with him into the transfer portal.

Young is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive lineman.

Back to Triple-A

Former Norwin star baseball player JJ Matijevic did not make the Houston Astros’ opening day roster, and the team designated him for assignment.

After he cleared waivers and was not picked up by another team, he was sent back to Sugar Land Space Cowboys, where he will start the 2023 season.

Matijevic will remain a call-up away, just like last season when he appeared in 32 games and earned a championship ring with the World Series champion Astros.

Ice capades

The Allegheny Badgers youth hockey team — 16U, coached by Josh Fajt — made a championship run.

Tha Badgers reached the semifinals of the USA Hockey Tier 2 National Tournament, falling to the Woodbridge Wolfpack, 2-1, in overtime, in Amherst, N.Y.

The Badgers, who play out of Palmer Imaging Arena in Delmont, feature a roster loaded with Westmoreland County players.

They include Alex Smilie and Carter Cherok of Greensburg, Luke Anderchak of Murrysville, Dom Cerilli and Dom Costantino of North Huntingdon, Jack Blank and Robbie Thatcher of Harrison City, Garrett Rechtorik of Trafford, Bryce Kropczynski of Irwin, JM Krajc and Bryant Dumnich of Latrobe, Jake Hannah of Ligonier, Chase Bonson of Penn Township and Tyler Danko of New Kensington.

Wehner a finalist

Central Catholic’s Payton Wehner was a finalist for the third Willie Thrower Award, presented to the top quarterback in the WPIAL and City League.

The North Huntingdon native was the only junior in a group of five finalists, which included winner Cadin Olsen, a 7,000-yard career passer from Armstrong who repeated as the winner.

The other finalists were seniors Keyshawn Morsillo of Westinghouse, Cruce Brookins of Steel Valley and Josh Jenkins of Sto-Rox.

Wehner, a North Huntingdon native, was second in the WPIAL in passing yardage with 2,504 as Central Catholic returned to the WPIAL Class 6A title game. He is believed to be the first Central passer to clear 2,000 yards in a regular season.

“This is a special event to be a part of,” Wehner said. “Seeing Cadin win it, he’s one of the best. Obviously, winning (championships) is what it is all about for us. But it’s something to work for (next season).”

Thrower, revered for being the first black quarterback to play in the NFL, starred at Ken High and Michigan State and then suited up for the Chicago Bears, making pro football history as a trailblazer in 1953, his lone season in the NFL.

He died of a heart attack in 2002 at 71.

Thrower led New Kensington to back-to-back WPIAL titles in 1946 and ’47. Across the county, Arnold Palmer won a pair of district golf titles in the same years.

Section tennis

Norwin senior Brady Johnson advanced to the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Section 1-3A tennis singles tournament with a 10-2 victory over Chase Regester of Hempfield. Johnson dropped a 10-2 decision to Franklin Regional’s Advait Kulkarni to fall out of contention.

Another Knights’ senior, Bret Vilage, also went 1-1 in the tournament. He held back Macklin Harbaugh of Hempfield, 10-6, before falling to Rashid Hassan of Gateway, 10-0.

Clemens to W&J

Norwin football player AJ Clemens committed to Washington & Jefferson. Clemens is a 6-foot-3, 240-pound all-conference offensive tackle.

College scene

Updates on Norwin athletes playing in college:

Women’s lacrosse

Grove City: Sophomore midfielder Mara Polczynski scored four goals and assisted on three more as the Wolverines defeated host Saint Vincent, 17-7. Polczynski added eight draw controls in the win.


Saint Vincent: The Bearcats swept a doubleheader from LaRoche, 7-6 and 6-0. Junior Alex Dillner went 4 for 4 with a double, and junior Leah Yoder added two hits, including a triple, in the opener. In the second game, Dillner went 3 for 4 with a double for SVC. Dillner went on to earn PAC Hitter of the Week.

Women’s tennis

Cincinnati: Redshirt senior Maria Santilli helped the Bearcats to a 5-3 win over DePaul on senior day. She recorded a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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