Deer Lakes out of WPIAL running after loss to Quaker Valley
Deer Lakes will have to wait to play in its first WPIAL baseball championship game.
The Lancers fell behind early and struggled to string together offense in a 4-0 loss to top-seeded Quaker Valley on Tuesday in the Class AA semifinals.
A team that looked sharp in two previous playoff games seemed antsy and out of sorts on the scorching-hot infield turf at Fox Chapel.
“We just weren't ourselves,” said Deer Lakes coach Jon Pedrosky, whose team hadn't been this far in a postseason since 1994.
“We played 20 games, and we were fundamentally sound in all of them. I don't know what it was, but I think we were a little tight.”
Deer Lakes (17-4) was retired in order four times and left a pair of baserunners stranded in the third and fourth innings. A rundown brought one rally to an end, and the Lancers committed three errors that aided the Quakers.
“They got up early, and that kind of set the tone,” Pedrosky said.
“I think our kids were a little shell-shocked by the mistakes we made. By the time we got our heads straight, it was a little late.”
The Lancers, seeded fourth, still have a chance to make the state playoffs. They'll play Shady Side Academy (15-8) in a consolation game next week (time, date, site to be determined) with the winner advancing.
Deer Lakes never has played in the state tournament.
“We made the semis, so that says something about this team; I am proud of them,” Pedrosky said. “We can make a run to the state championship, and no one will remember this game.”
Quaker Valley (21-0) will play Beaver (16-3) in the championship. The Quakers haven't made the finals since 1984.
Coach Todd Goble insists the team isn't obsessing over its unblemished record.
“I have never heard one of our kids talk about (the record),” Goble said. “It doesn't mean anything. Do you think Beaver cares that we're undefeated?”
Quaker Valley, which pulled a playoff sweep of Section 3 teams Burrell, Freeport and Deer Lakes, scored two unearned runs in the first inning, the first on a triple by Nelson Westwood and the second on a Deer Lakes throwing error.
“All of those teams are tough outs,” Goble said. “We don't prepare for teams on an individual basis. We try and adjust as we go. That seems to have worked well for us.”
Christian Miller reached on an error in the second then scored on a single by speedy leadoff hitter Clayton Bouchard, who also tripled and scored twice.
It stayed 3-0 until the sixth when Matt Delie hit the Quakers' third triple, with two outs, to make the score 4-0.
Ace pitcher Jake Pilewicz struck out eight and walked one to earn the complete-game win. Deer Lakes' Adam Fredley (8-2) took the loss. He worked 4 1⁄3 before being replaced by Todd Coleman.
Ryan Perroz doubled for the Lancers but was left at second in the fifth.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.