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Big inning lifts Deer Lakes softball

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Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Deer Lakes' Leanne Crawford celebrates a catch during the final play of the game made by Candace Scanga during the game against Southmoreland at Gateway High School on Wednesday May 16, 2012.
Top high school sports
By George Guido
Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 7:08 p.m.

Deer Lakes softball coach Craig Taliani said hitting is contagious for his team, and his players proved it Wednesday.

The Lancers pounded 16 hits and put the game away in a seven-run fifth inning to defeat Southmoreland, 12-2, in a WPIAL Class AA first-round game at Gateway High School. The game was halted after five innings by the 10-run rule.

Deer Lakes (16-1) will face Mohawk in Monday's quarterfinals. Southmoreland, in the playoffs for the first time since 2001, finished 12-6.

Hannah Blinn led the offensive barrage with four singles, Tiffany Edwards contributed two doubles and a single and Sierra Sarver had three singles.

“I don't think we were really threatened, but that one big inning opened it up for us,” Taliani said. “Hitting is contagious; once we start, everyone jumps in.”

For Southmoreland, it was a day of lost opportunities.

“We had people in position to score; we just didn't get the timely hit we needed to get those runners to cross the plate,” coach Kim Kelley said.

“When you play a team like this, you can't afford to not stay with them.”

The Lancers went to work quickly: Candace Scanga reached on an error, then Sarver and Blinn singled. Edwards hit her first of two doubles to lift Deer Lakes to a 3-0 lead.

Pitcher Hailey Moretti retired Southmoreland with the bases loaded in the second before the Scotties broke through for single runs in the third and fourth.

“Definitely pitching with a lead makes a difference all the time,” Taliani said. “That's the way we have been playing for most of the season.”

Blinn singled twice in the fifth as the Lancers sent 12 to the plate to secure the win. Edwards doubled and singled; her two-out single scored Sarver to give Deer Lakes a 10-run lead.

“We were very anxious going in,” Edwards said. “We were confident in our hitting, and we were swinging at anything that was close.”

Vanessa Richards and Kelsey Evans had two hits apiece for Southmoreland.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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