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Preps Plus


3A state notebook

Norwell senior first baseman Tailur Szarenski was at the 2006 Class 3A state title game in which Jasper beat the Knights 13-12 at Victory Field.

Norwell reversed that outcome and style of game in a 2-1 win over the Wildcats on Friday.

"It didn't really matter who it was on the other side," Szarenski said of the 2013 state title. "It feels great. Jasper is a great program with a lot of history."

Junior Jonah Patten echoed his teammate's thoughts.

"There is no revenge," Patten said. "We take every opponent seriously. We happen to seize the moments at the right time.

"We are really happy to bring the state title back to Norwell High School, and I think the fans appreciate it as well."

10 seniors lost

Norwell will lose 10 players from the 2013 championship team, but still has a good nucleus for next year, led by an Arkansas recruit in Patten.

"Next year maybe a rebuilding year for them, but I know they will do great," senior Josh VanMeter said. "(The program) speaks to the coaches. (First-year) Coach (Andy) McClain comes in and does a great job, and we win a state championship. That shows what kind of coach he is."

Patten, who plays shortstop and pitcher for Norwell, had both RBI for the Knights on a single and a double.

"He is a great pitcher, but I keep telling people he is a great baseball player," McClain said of Patten. "He had two clutch hits for us tonight."

Changing styles

Norwell won different kinds of close games during their state championship run, including a 5-4 win in eight innings against Heritage in the sectional, a 9-8 win, also in eight, in the regional against NorthWood and Friday's 2-1 state title clinching win.

"We have done it before in the tournament, and we know we can come back in tight games," said senior Luke Hunter, whose team trailed 1-0 to Jasper.

High School Sports Editor Greg Jones on prep sports.