Westmoreland high school notebook: Hempfield sophomore catcher reopens recruitment

Saturday, March 30, 2019 | 6:13 PM

Sophomore Emma Hoffner still plans to play Division I softball and clearly has the talent to do so.

But the Hempfield all-state catcher is going to explore her options before making a firm commitment.

Hoffner has opened her recruitment after initially verbally committing to St. Francis (Pa.) as a freshman.

Coach Jennifer Patrick-Swift, who recruited Hoffner, left St. Francis for N.C. State. Then, the NCAA changed its recruiting rules, prohibiting coaches from talking to prospects until their junior year.

Hoffner said she could still consider St. Francis but wants to see what else is out there.

“I am not sure if the (scholarship) will still be there (in two years),” Hoffner said. “There are a lot of schools out there. I may end up going farther away. Maybe in the ACC.”

Hoffner went 4 for 4 in Thursday’s 11-6 loss to North Allegheny.

Last season, she batted .432 with 20 RBIs and had the winning hit in the PIAA Class 6A championship.

Triple play for Norwin

Defense is a key staple to any successful softball team, and Norwin proved it can play some in Tuesday’s game at Seneca Valley. The Knights flashed their gloves with a triple play during a 1-0 loss.

The play happened in the second inning with runners at second and third. A ground ball was hit to Victoria Skimko at third, who threw to first to get one out. Leah Yoder then threw to Carly Cook at second to get the runner trying to get back to the bag for out No. 2.

Cook then threw to third to get the runner diving back.

While the play was exciting, Norwin coach Brian Mesich would have traded it for a win.

“It would have been nice if we won the game,” Mesich said. “Bigger headline.”

Jackson’s long drive

Reigning PIAA Class AAA boys golf champion Palmer Jackson of Franklin Regional went from golf to baseball on a trek that took him to Michigan, back to Pennsylvania and then to Florida.

Jackson, a pitcher for the baseball team and a Notre Dame golf recruit, played in the Gator Invitational in Jackson, Mich., last weekend, then came home and rejoined the baseball team, which headed to Vero Beach, Fla., for its annual “spring training” trip.

Jackson shot 68 in the final round of the Gator Invitational to finish tied for sixth. He struck out six in six innings in a scrimmage over Medina, Ohio.


Hempfield senior Fintan Brose has his 14th Division I offer to play college football. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound two-way lineman was offered to play at Harvard. The Ivy League does not offer athletic scholarships, but Brose can earn a spot through academics.

Princeton also offered from the Ivy.

Some of his other notable offers are from Vanderbilt, Bowling Green, Navy, Youngstown State and Akron.

• Franklin Regional softball player Mallory Halleck will play at Saint Vincent.

• Dave Kratzenberg of Greensburg Central Catholic will play lacrosse at Allegheny.

P-T games at Seton Hill

Penn-Trafford moved a series of home baseball and softball games to Seton Hill.

The baseball field at Penn-Trafford is getting a new backstop installed and is not quite ready for season play. Otherwise, Penn-Trafford is being proactive in case of rainouts by playing the games on turf fields.

The baseball games set to be played at the Greensburg campus include April 10: vs. Hempfield and April 24 vs. Connellsville.

Softball games moved to the college field are April 5 vs. Hempfield, April 10 vs. Latrobe and April 25 vs. Laurel Highlands.

All of those games start at 4 p.m.

Penn-Trafford also played Hempfield last year at Seton Hill in the memorable softball game that saw the Warriors end Hempfield’s 46-game winning streak with a 7-3 victory.

In another schedule change, Penn-Trafford baseball will play Hampton at 4 p.m. Monday at Hempfield Park.

All-conference picks

The Heritage Conference announced its all-conference teams for the winter season. Five athletes from Ligonier Valley made the list: Marrek Paola and Michael Marinchak for boys basketball, Alexia Boyd for girls basketball, Ryan Harbert for wrestling and Lexie Ambrose for cheerleading.

Bright future

Norwin’s girls basketball program is known for producing winning teams in large part because of the ties between the youth program and varsity level.

The Knights seventh-grade team represents the next wave of talent to come through, and it will bring quite a resume. The team just won the Pennsylvania Middle School Championship to keep its unblemished record intact. The team has not lost in three years and sports a record of 108-0 during that time.

The team is coached by Franklin Regional varsity coach Anthony Kobus.

Norwin’s fifth-grade girls team also won a state title.

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

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