Westmoreland H.S. athletes of the week: Norwin’s Bailey Snowberger, Hempfield’s Chaz Ewer

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Saturday, May 14, 2022 | 6:28 PM


Bailey Snowberger

School: Norwin

Sport: Softball

Year: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Snowberger, a shortstop, helped Norwin make a late push for a WPIAL Class 6A playoff spot. She led off Tuesday’s game with a triple, hustling to third and beating the throw, and finished with two hits and an RBI as the Knights blanked North Allegheny, 6-0, to clinch the final berth in the classification.

She also made several sure-handed putouts at short in an errorless afternoon by her team.

Snowberger went 3 for 4 with two RBIs in another must-win game Monday, a 9-1 victory over Butler.

Both games were played at the Norwin Middle School field because the outfield on the team’s regular field is unplayable because of standing water.

Snowberger, who has battled back from a dislocated knee injury from basketball season, also plays volleyball and basketball for Norwin.

She was cleared to return to action just before the start of softball season.

What inspired you to play well in these last few games to get into the playoffs?

Obviously, we want to play well every game, but having the slow start to this season and the stop-and-go of canceled games, it definitely inspired me to lay everything I have out there for these last games. Not only for our seniors and our coaches, but for myself and the whole team because deep down, we all knew through those ups and downs … we weren’t even close to touching our potential.

Why are you on a hot streak with your hitting lately?

I have been working on developing the correct mindset in the box, whether it’s leadoff mindset or just a mentally tough mindset. I’ve recently found what has clicked for me.

How have you been able to play shortstop so well with the knee brace?

It’s been a very tough challenge, for sure. I’ve just had to hold myself accountable and not put pity on myself or make excuses due to an injury and push through.

How tough has it been not being able to play on your home field?

It’s definitely been frustrating, traveling nonstop to away games while juggling the duties of a student-athlete. We were exhausted, and just wanting to ‘defend the N’ at our home turf.

It’s also helped shape myself and the team into more mentally tough athletes.

What is it like having parents who work as athletic trainers at Norwin?

A blessing is an understatement. Not only to me, but they are family to everyone. They go above and beyond for all Norwin athletes to make sure we are healthy, getting what we need, and getting back to the sports we love. They are the main reason I was able to play this season after my knee injury due to the nonstop therapy I was able to do with them at home.

Do you want to do what they do?

The job that they have, and growing up as that little girl following my dad around high school practices and seeing him take care of people, definitely got me interested in the medical field. I’m looking to becoming a physician’s assistant.

Which of your three sports is the most fun?

I love all three of the sports I play. Softball would be the most fun. Even though it’s stressful, the stress that comes with it means it matters to me.

What Norwin athlete did you look up to growing up?

Hailee Culbertson, no question. I remember, as if it happened yesterday, watching a home softball game one day. I was maybe in sixth grade, and I watched Hailee dive for a backhand in the 5-6 hole and throw the girl out at first from her knees. From that day, I came to every home game.

Do you have any unique hobbies or talents?

I enjoy drawing and art in general as my safe place away from the craziness of life. Also, enjoying outdoors like taking hikes with my family.

Who is the best pitcher you have faced?

Pine-Richland’s Gabby Aughton.

Favorite school lunch?

Every day, I pack grilled chicken with rice and a banana.

Remote or in-person learning?

I am 100% for in-person learning.

Favorite Twitter follow?

Liberty softball coach Dot Richardson.

Favorite actor/actress, band/artist and comedian?

Jennifer Lawrence, Luke Combs, Robin Williams.

This summer, I can’t wait for _____?

Travel softball season, of course.

Chaz Ewer

School: Hempfield

Sport: Volleyball

Year: Senior

Claim to fame: Ewer is a two-sport athlete for the Spartans. He was a second-team all-section basketball player, but his main sport is being a middle hitter on the volleyball team. He’s the top hitter on the team who recorded eight kills as the Spartans clinched the Class 3A Section 3 title with a victory against Latrobe. He will attend Life University in Marietta, Ga., where he plans on playing volleyball.

Do you relish your role as the top scorer on the team? It’s just not me. I’m surrounded by a lot of great players. A lot of credit for our success comes from setter Dom Hipps. Sophomore Josh Riley has stepped up defensively, which has allowed the other hitters more freedom.

What does it mean to win the section title? It means the world. I’m glad we finally got one. It’s good to put up a number on the banner. It means a lot more that we were able to do it for coach (Thomas) Howell.

Do you get enjoyment defeating Penn-Trafford? Beating Penn-Trafford means a lot. They are our crosstown rival. Every time we’ve played them, I’ve had a lot of fun. They have a good student section. It was revenge for our team this season.

What’s the biggest difference from your team this season? Our defense is a lot better. We’re a lot scrappier. We’re covering our players more. It’s fun to demoralize a team when they get a good hit and we pick it up.

Other than qualifying for states, do you have any other goals? We want to win the WPIAL title. That would be awesome. We love playing against the teams in Section 2: North Allegheny and Seneca Valley. We definitely have our eyes on Section 2 and the other sections.

What will it take to win a WPIAL title? We have to serve tough, hit hard and definitely block well. Our block has been very successful this season.

Do you have any special routine you do before a match? I have a warm-up routine. I start getting ready during the second set of the junior varsity. We have to be mentally because it’s your enemy on the other side of the net.

Do you have a special pregame meal or special meal you mom makes you? My pregame meal is definitely pasta. I want to load up on carbs and get a lot of rest. For my favorite meal that my mom makes, it has to be her awesome white chicken chili. She won an award for it at church during a chili cook off.

What music do you like to listen to? I’m definitely a country guy at heart. My favorite song is ‘No shoe, no shirt, no problem’ by Kenny Chesney.

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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