Deer Lakes softball team loses in quarterfinals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
BEDFORD — Deer Lakes went from being rained out to feeling bummed out in the state playoffs.
Despite a strong defensive effort in a game that finally was played after two days' worth of postponements, the Lancers were mostly punchless at the plate in a 3-1 loss to Philipsburg-Osceola on Saturday in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal at Bedford.
The defeat brings the season to a close for Deer Lakes (19-2), which went 39-4 the past two years, winning a WPIAL title last year and posting a runner-up district finish this season.
Both times, the Lancers fell in the second round of states, and both times, they lost after weather delays.
“I feel terrible for these girls, and I know I hate losing,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “We're not just playing to compete. We want to win championships. If you don't play to win championships, you're just a participant.”
The game was supposed to be played Thursday, but heavy rains forced it to be put on hold Thursday and Friday. Deer Lakes isn't a team that makes excuses, but who knows what happens without the waiting?
“The anticipation maybe faded some; I know I felt more energetic Thursday,” said catcher Hannah Blinn, who was one of four Deer Lakes seniors to graduate Friday night. “But we felt good today, too. You have to hit. We need to out the ball on the ground more. We hit line drives and popouts.”
Taliani didn't think weather issues bothered his team.
“Nah, (P-O) had to play the same day as us,” he said. “Sooner or later, you have to give credit to the team that beats you. Hats off to (P-O). We had some chances to do some damage and didn't come through.”
Deer Lakes turned a 4-6-3 double play in the fourth and prevented another run from scoring in the fifth when right fielder Rachel Tanilli caught a fly ball and threw to first baseman Sierra Sarver, who fired home to catcher Hannah Blinn for an inning-ending putout.
But the offense managed just three hits against P-O senior Kate Burge, who improved to 20-0. Burge, a Penn State Altoona recruit, struck out five and walked two. She allowed just three hits, got Deer Lakes to fly out 10 times and retired 14 of the last 15 batters.
“We never got up on her,” Deer Lakes sophomore pitcher Tiffany Edwards said. “I don't know if we were pressing or what.”
Edwards took just the second loss of her career. She is 27-2. She retired 13 in a row at one point.
The Mounties scored all of their runs in the first inning. Sophomore Mackenzie Burge tripled home the Mounties' first run and came home on a wild pitch. Kate Burge then doubled to the fence to make the score 3-0.
The quick offense was all the Mounties needed.
“I thought our defense was strong, and (Burge) hit her spots,” P-O coach Jim Gonder said. “Both teams are very even. I thought we did a good job against their three, four and five hitters.”
Deer Lakes scored its run in the third. Senior shortstop Becca Babincak tripled, and sophomore second baseman Katie Gozzard singled.
Deer Lakes loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, getting a pair of walks with one out. Blinn appeared to bring home Babincak on a sacrifice fly, but freshman Maria Taliani failed to tag up going from second to third and was called out to end the threat.
“That was a mistake, but it's one we can fix,” coach Taliani said. “Believe me, no one will take it harder than (Maria).”
P-O (23-1) advanced to face Riverside (21-0) in the semifinals Monday. Deer Lakes had hoped for a rematch against Riverside, which was scouting Saturday's game from just behind the center-field fence.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.
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.
- Deer Lakes’ Edwards named Valley News Dispatch Softball Player of the Year
- Trinity’s Gray named Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Softball Player of the Year
- Hempfield softball team could have pieces in place for return to PIAA playoffs
- Hempfield’s Ryan named Greensburg Tribune-Review Softball Player of the Year
- Gorman: A new target for Deer Lakes’ Taliani
- Knoch’s Shinsky named Valley News Dispatch Baseball Player of the Year
- Parshall, Mularski garner 1st Team all-state honors
- Deer Lakes softball well-represented on coaches’ Class AA all-state team