No. 1 Deer Lakes softball edges Freeport in 9
TribLIVE Sports Videos
For the first five games of the season, defending WPIAL Class AA softball champion Deer Lakes faced little resistance. The Lancers clobbered the opposition, machine-gunning extra-base hits all over the field while outscoring their opposition by a brow-raising 65-4.
The Lancers finally were confronted with a test in Tuesday's Section 3-AA showdown at Freeport, but they eked this one out the old-fashioned way, using small ball to win their fifth game in seven days.
That's not to say the big hits were lacking — top-ranked Deer Lakes blasted three home runs across the first three innings — but a bunt single by leadoff hitter Becca Babincak set up the winning run in a 5-4 victory over the Yellowjackets in nine innings.
After Freeport rallied for three runs in the fifth to tie it at 4, Deer Lakes (6-0, 5-0) didn't get another hit until Babincak bunted and beat the throw to first to open the ninth. The four-year starter then moved to second on a groundout and third on a passed ball before scoring the go-ahead run on a soft, one-out single by sophomore Tiffany Edwards.
“The big hit gets us into position to win,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “But small ball gets us the win. Over the course of the season, you have to be able to do a little of everything to be successful.”
With so much offense coming from Deer Lakes and Freeport (3-2, 3-2) — both were averaging more than 11 runs per game — some thought an offensive barrage was in order.
But rallies were limited and the defenses were mostly steady down the stretch.
“We didn't think it would be a slugfest,” Taliani said. “We knew it would be a game like this. That's what you expect when you play Freeport.”
Freeport showed plenty of fight against the champs.
“Coach Taliani has been though a lot with his team,” Freeport coach Sam Ross said. “He's used to some of those close games, especially in the playoffs.”
The winning pitcher with nine strikeouts, Edwards helped her cause with a two-run homer in the third. First baseman Sierra Sarver followed with a solo shot to give the Lancers a 4-0 lead.
“We all have confidence in ourselves,” Edwards said. “We've been there before and we know how to win in those situations.”
Taylor Massart had three RBI for Freeport, the first on a single in the third and two more on a game-tying double in the fifth.
Alyssa Meta and Emily Lindsey had back-to-back RBI singles to get Freeport to within 4-2.
Maureen Hutchinson also homered for the Lancers' first run.
Freeport lefty starter Meta overcame a vicious line drive and being hit by a pitch on her non-throwing elbow, all in the first inning. She applied an ice pack to the elbow immediately after the game.
Deer Lakes has another Section 3 test Wednesday afternoon at unbeaten Burrell (5-0, 5-0). The Lancers and Bucs are the last two WPIAL champions.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Previously convicted of embezzlement, Mt. Pleasant postal worker accused of mail theft
- Greensburg pair jailed in convenience store robbery
- 3-alarm fire burns Hill District row homes
- Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins
- Record-breaking temps could make February the coldest one since 1979
- At Pitt, a chance to make early impression under Narduzzi
- Vincentian girls dominate rival North Catholic for 4th straight WPIAL Class A title
- Ex-Brewers star Hart hopes to prove to Pirates he still can play
- Butler County teen dies in ATV accident
- 3 charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers