ShareThis Page

Big defensive play helps Deer Lakes softball team down Burrell

| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 12:36 a.m.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's Melissa Mazzei (left) is tagged out at the plate by Deer Lakes catcher Hannah Blinn on Monday, April 15, 2013, at Deer Lakes .
Bill Shirley For The Valley Dispatch
Deer Lakes Stephanie Drapela (right) slides safely in at third base as the throw skips away from Burrell's Krista York (left) in girls softball action on Monday, April 15, 2013, at Deer Lakes High School.

A perfectly executed play from right field to home plate in the third inning proved to be the difference Monday in the long-awaited Section 3-AA softball showdown between Deer Lakes and Burrell.

The defending WPIAL champion Lancers, ranked No. 1 in this week's Trib Total Media poll, scored twice in the bottom of the third and held on for a 2-1 victory.

Deer Lakes remains undefeated at 7-0, 6-0, and Burrell, the WPIAL champion from two seasons ago, is 6-1 overall and in section play.

Monday's game was postponed twice earlier this month because of inclement weather.

With the game scoreless in the top of the third, Bucs senior Claire Fisher hit a single to right with none out. Kelsey Oddis, who had opened the inning with a single, scored easily.

Melissa Mazzei, who reached base on an error, tried to score from second. But a perfect relay throw from right fielder Rachel Tanilli to second baseman Katie Gozzard, then to catcher Hannah Blinn retired the sliding Mazzei.

“We tried to squeeze in another run there early in the game to try and see if they could execute, and they did,” Burrell coach Mike Spagnolo said. “We couldn't come back in a one-run game, and that was the ballgame. I would take that chance anytime early. That throw was right on the money.”

Added Lancers coach Craig Taliani: “We didn't play our cleanest game, defensively, but we made plays when we had to. At the most opportune times, they came through. Still, this wasn't our A-plus game on defense.”

Deer Lakes made four errors.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Gozzard singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Tiffany Edwards doubled home Gozzard to tie the game.

One out later, Hannah Blinn, as she did so many times during the Lancers' title drive last season, came through with a clutch hit to score courtesy runner Maria Taliani with what turned out to be the decisive tally.

“Hannah, and all these seniors, have just shown incredible leadership so far this year,” Craig Taliani said. “I think they want to be in pressure situations, so we just have confidence in any of them.”

Winning pitcher Edwards allowed only one runner to second over the final four innings.

Fisher pitched well, allowing just one base hit after Deer Lakes scored two runs in the third.

“She pitched a nice game,” Spagnolo said of Fisher. “It was a matter of everybody getting through the lineup and making the outs, and we backed her up on defense.”

Deer Lakes shortstop Becca Babincak had a solid game in the field, handling eight chances flawlessly and covering considerable real estate in the middle infield.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.