Norwin baseball player J.J Matijevic had a pretty lofty reputation entering the season. That comes when you sign with the University of Arizona.
But Matijevic has only enhanced that reputation this season.
The kid with two initials for his first name has become synonymous with two other letters. It's J.J. for HR.
Matijevic has hit a home run in five consecutive games. Norwin has played only six games. He did not hit a home run in the season opener against Penn Hills. But he hit one against Valley, two against North Allegheny, one against Albert Gallatin and one against Connellsville. Matijevic, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior shortstop, has six home runs and 20 RBIs.
"We've had some good hitters here, but hands down he is the best one we've ever had," said Norwin coach Mike Liebdzinski. "Our single-season record at Norwin for home runs is seven. He's one behind in the first six games."
Matijevic has helped Norwin to a 5-1 record.
"He has a ton of power, and the home run he hit against Valley was the farthest home run I've seen hit live on any level," Liebdzinski said. "I don't get down to many Pirate games, but that would've been way out in any ballpark in the country. He has power that most people his age don't have."
Matijevic might be a first baseman at the University of Arizona.
"That's if he gets there," Liebdzinski said. "We've had anywhere from three to seven [major-league] scouts at our games."
McKay's impressive stats
Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay is putting together statistics that are unheard of in the WPIAL.
McKay, a senior left-hander, now has a 37-inning scoreless streak going back to last year. No one has WPIAL records for the longest scoreless streak. But I've been covering WPIAL sports for more than three decades and there certainly haven't been many - if any - to put together such a streak.
But what's hard to believe is that McKay had a similar streak as a sophomore. He went 35 consecutive innings without giving up a run as a 10th grader. In case you didn't realize a 37-inning scoreless streak is more than five high school games.
A few more scoreless games and McKay will be approaching national marks. According to the National Federation of High School Associations, a 52-inning scoreless streak will put McKay in the top 10 all time.
But McKay has a ways to go to reach the national record. In 1973, Joey Porter of South Natchez-Adams High in Natchez, Miss., had an 80-inning scoreless streak.
About 20 major-league scouts were on hand when McKay pitched a no-hitter Wednesday against West Allegheny.
"I hate to say it, but he really wasn't even at his best," said Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia. "He hadn't pitched in 10 days. He was only hitting 86 or 87 and he just wasn't at his best. It was still pretty good, though."
Amalia said the attention from major-league scouts is getting "crazy."
In case you are interested in seeing McKay pitch, Amalia said he is tentatively scheduled to pitch Monday at home against Ambridge. Check back here on the "Varsity Blog" Monday morning and I will give an update on whether McKay is going to pitch.
Son of Fedko shines
There is now a Fedko zone at Vincentian baseball games.
It's at shortstop. That's where Christian Fedko resides.
Christian Fedko, son of the sportscaster, is starting at shortstop for Vincentian. Although Christian is only a freshman, he is one of the team's top hitters with a .455 average. Vincentian is 6-0.
I wonder if we'll see a chopper over Vincentian games now.
Rounball Classic tomorrow
The stars will come out tomorrow at Geneva College. That's when the Roundball Classic will be played.
The Roundball is an annual all-star basketball event run by Allen Deep. It is now four games with the top seniors in the WPIAL, City League and a few surrounding districts.
Deep is touting this as possibly the most talent he has assembled for the boys and girls games. A total of 20 all-state players from Western Pennsylvania will be included. The two girls games are at 2 and 4, and the two boys games at 6 and 8. Tickets are available at the door.
All of the seniors on the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 teams will play. That includes New Castle's Malik Hooker, Hampton's Ryan Luther and Obama's D.J. Porter on the boys side, and Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias and Seton-LaSalle's Yacine Diop on the girls side.
I've been to the Roundball. The games, at least on the boys side, are usually high scoring. It's a little like the NBA All-Star game. Defense is foreign to a lot of the guys. But if you like offense, then check out the games.
Lincoln Park's Elijah Minnie is one of the players in the game. He is visiting Robert Morris.