Deer Lakes baseball team slips past Seton-La Salle
Deer Lakes didn't win three consecutive baseball section titles on style points.
What the Lancers lack in flash, they make up for in basic execution. They don't care how they look as long as they win.
“I had a coach tell me that we're one of the most fundamentally-sound teams he's seen,” Lancers coach Jon Pedrosky said. “That's one of the greatest compliments we could receive.”
No. 4 seed Deer Lakes plodded to its sixth one-run victory of the season Monday, edging No. 13 Seton-La Salle, 2-1, in a WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game at Highlands.
The Lancers (16-3) advance to face No. 12 Greensburg Central Catholic (12-5) in the quarterfinals.
“It's been like this all year,” Pedrosky said of the one-run games. “Our guys are used to playing this way by now. We have won by one run in the playoffs before.”
Complemented by an error-free defense, senior pitcher Adam Fredley struck out 10 and allowed three hits to earn the win.
“We just try to play solid,” Fredley said. “We can play small ball if we have to. We don't have a lot of power in our lineup.”
Fredley nearly went the distance, pitching to one batter in the seventh before giving way to Todd Coleman. Fredley walked the lead-off batter, and Pedrosky quickly made the change, which he said was based on pitch count.
“Adam has been our rock, but he had gone well over 100 pitches,” Pedrosky said. “Todd is our 1-A, so we had no issue going to him.”
Fredley had no issue missing out on a complete game. He just wanted to advance.
“I have confidence in whatever coach decides to do,” he said. “
Coleman earned the save but not before some drama.
Seton-La Salle (8-9) got the tying run to second with two outs. Nico Poppa hit a sharp grounder down the line, but Deer Lakes third baseman Scotty Ventura made a diving snag to prevent the run from scoring.
Poppa was safe, putting runners at first and third, but Coleman got Dom DelGreco to fly to center to end the game.
“That was a great defensive play,” Pedrosky said. “(Ventura) is just a sophomore.”
Deer Lakes' runs, both of which came in the fourth, were unearned.
After back-to-back singles by Fredley and junior Zach Hudecek, Seton-La Salle committed consecutive errors — a bobbled play at second and a bad throw to first by the catcher. That loaded the bases, then pushed home the first run.
Ventura's dribbler to second, which got caught up in the thick infield grass, went in the books as an RBI single and made the score 2-0.
In the fifth, Poppa's run-scoring double brought home Kevin Kerns, who also reached on a two-base hit.
But Fredley worked out of trouble with runners at the corners and one out. He struck out No. 2 hitter Matt Wilke, and catcher Matt Olsenivich fired to second to put out DelGreco on a steal attempt to end the threat.
“We have a lot of juniors and seniors on this team,” Pedrosky said. “And they're feeling confident about how we're playing.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.