Norwin softball team expects to keep on contending

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Saturday, May 1, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Norwin had just lost to Hempfield, 10-5, to snap a four-game winning streak. It was the first Section 2-6A loss for the softball Knights, who vaulted to No. 2 in the Trib HSSN rankings.

They quickly brushed off the defeat, learned from it and moved on rather abruptly.

“We’ll use this as a build,” coach Brian Mesich said. “Losses aren’t good, but it’s not easy to keep winning. Things happen. It’s hard to keep it going. Look at Gonzaga (men’s basketball), sheesh.”

Norwin, which slid to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in section after the defeat, still is trying to find the right mix of talent that works in unison. In other words, a one-through-nine lineup that can stay healthy and consistent.

“This is a really close group,” Mesich said. “I don’t like rankings and stuff like that. I’d rather be under the radar. I just want us to develop and get better. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If it’s working, why change it?”

Senior Bailee Bertani missed three games with an injury she suffered in practice, but the day she returned — at Hempfield — junior pitcher Angelina Pepe was unavailable for an undisclosed reason — a reason that nonetheless would have her out for a few games.

Bertani, the speedy leadoff hitter, has started rallies all season. Sophomore Madie Kessler, junior Mallory Wensel and senior Liz Waszkiewicz (Fairmont State) have displayed power in the top to middle of the order.

Kessler has been one of the county’s top home run hitters this season.

“It can be a different girl each night,” Mesich said. “They pick each other up.”

Junior Olivia Mastrilli singled, doubled and tripled against Seneca Valley.

“We’re motivated when nobody expects us to do well,” said senior pitcher Sydney Lokay, a Westminster commit who also is among the team’s best hitters. “It was nice to finally get ranked, but we can’t be satisfied with that. We have to want more.”

Lokay said the team’s chemistry is thriving and believes the Knights will remain a section contender in the second half of the schedule.

“We have a very different dynamic,” she said. “Nobody sees anyone differently. When you look at us, you can’t tell who the seniors are and who are the underclassmen. Everyone is accepted and respected.”

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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