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Riverside wins 6th WPIAL Class AA softball title

| Thursday, May 30, 2013, 3:42 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside players celebrate their 5-1 victory over Deer Lakes in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Deer Lakes catcher Hannah Blinn reacts while holding the runner's-up trophy following their 5-1 loss to Riverside in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside pitcher Kirsten Wilson (left), Natalie Pritts (12) and Brooke Barker celebrate their 5-1 victory over Deer Lakes in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside base runner Brooke Barker celebrates after scoring past Deer Lakes catcher Hannah Blinn in the first inning in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside pitcher Kirsten Wilson delivers to a Deer Lakes batter in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. Riverside defeated Deer Lakes, 5-1.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside base runner Natalie Pritts slides safely past the tag of Deer Lakes catcher Hannah Blinn to score in the sixth inning in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. Riverside defeated Deer Lakes, 5-1.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside players celebrate their 5-1 victory over Deer Lakes in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California..
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside base runner Natalie Pritts slides safely past Deer Lakes catcher Hannah Blinn to score in the sixth inning in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. Riverside defeated Deer Lakes, 5-1.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside base runner Brooke Barker slides safely into home plate to score against Deer Lakes in the first inning in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. Riverside defeated Deer Lakes, 5-1.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Riverside's Morgan McElwain slides safely under Deer Lakes third baseman Sarah Blinn in the sixth inning in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Deer Lakes catcher Hannah Blinn approaches pitcher Tiffany Edwards after Riverside scored in the sixth inning in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California. Riverside defeated Deer Lakes, 5-1.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Deer Lakes players Ali Barthel (left), Tiffany Edwards (center) and Sarah Blinn react following their 5-1 loss to Riverside in the WPIAL Class AA softball championship game Thursday, May 30, 2013, at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field in California.

There was no comeback this time for the defending WPIAL champions. Riverside pitcher Kirsten Wilson and right fielder Andrea Lippman made sure of that.

Deer Lakes fell behind in its previous playoff games but rallied for impressive wins. But, in the Class AA championship game Thursday, the Lancers couldn't catch up to Wilson, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before handing Deer Lakes a 5-1 loss at California (Pa.)'s Lilley Field.

Wilson struck out 11 and walked three in a complete-game win.

“I worked my pitches as well as I could, and my defense was great behind me,” said Wilson, who raised her WPIAL-leading strikeout total to 265. “This means so much to us.”

Lippman made a thrilling catch in the sixth to rob Deer Lakes' Sierra Sarver of what might have been a game-tying home run. Instead, the Panthers (19-0) remained unbeaten, celebrating their sixth WPIAL title and first since 2009.

Riverside had its streak of 11 consecutive shutouts end, but the Panthers downed a team that had been ranked No. 1 all season and was averaging better than 11 runs.

“That catch was incredible. It was over the fence, no doubt,” said Riverside coach Pam McCarty, whose team has allowed seven runs all season. “(Lippman) would have crawled over the fence to get that one.

“I didn't realize Deer Lakes had scored a run until the radio guys told me.”

Deer Lakes (18-1) committed four errors and yielded four unearned runs.

“We weren't ourselves today,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “We were all over the field. And we could've done a better job putting the ball in play.”

Deer Lakes had won 24 straight against WPIAL competition.

Riverside jumped on the board early with some help. With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Morgan McElwain hit a bloop single to shallow right field to drive in one run. A throwing error allowed two more to score for a 3-0 lead.

“Our girls were ready mentally,” McCarty said. “They worked so hard to get here. It takes that kind of focus.”

In the sixth, Katie Gozzard broke up the no-hitter with a sharp single to right, and Tiffany Edwards had an RBI-double for Deer Lakes. Then came Sarver's somewhat-dramatic flyout to deep right-center, which was snagged by Lippman.

“It was gone,” Taliani said.

“The girl made a great catch. They made the plays they had to, and we didn't.”

Riverside added two runs in the sixth, on a fielder's choice and on an error.

Natalie Pritts scored two runs and McElwain went 2 for 3 for Riverside.

Edwards struck out six and allowed five hits.

Before Thursday, Riverside had not allowed a run since April 18.

Both teams advance to the PIAA playoffs, which begin Monday.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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