Bases-loaded free passes prove big in Deer Lakes' softball victory over Burrell
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Top-ranked Deer Lakes was the beneficiary of a pair of three-run homers in Tuesday's 12-5 victory over Burrell.
While the Lancers enjoyed the blasts, it was two at-bats where the ball wasn't put into play that turned out to be keys in the game.
Deer Lakes entered the bottom of fifth trailing 5-4. Maria Taliani took a bases-loaded walk to tie the game. Then, freshman Shae Robson fouled off four 1-2 pitches and coaxed a walk from Krista York.
That brought home Katie Gozzard with the go-ahead run, and the Lancers were on their way to a big win.
“Shae's really been clutch all year for us,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “She's a freshman who's taken on a position. It was just an outstanding at-bat.
“She worked so hard, just to keep fouling off quality pitches, and to get a walk out of that was a heck of an at-bat.”
Another freshman, Becca Hoffman, then hit a sacrifice fly to center, bringing home Sierra Sarver.
An error plated two more runs, capping a five-run rally. The Lancers (9-0, 9-0) remain atop the Trib Total Media Class AA poll and closer to securing a WPIAL playoff berth with Tuesday's victory.
Winning pitcher Tiffany Edwards had a three-run homer in the first inning, and Maria Taliani hit her third of the season with two on in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Burrell (5-3, 5-3) is part of a four-way battle for two remaining playoff berths from Section 3-AA. The Bucs are trying to make the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
“Hopefully, we can stay with the three losses and take second place,” Bucs coach Mike Spagnolo said. “I say every year that if you get two loses in this section, you're not going to win the section. It's been true since 2009. That was our motivation today, try to stay with just the two losses.”
The Bucs took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fourth when Jaila Manga led off with a double and came home on Brittney Wolford's pinch-hit single.
It was only the second time this season Deer Lakes trailed in the fifth inning.
“We were behind against Freeport (on April 8), then we were tied 1-1 at West Shamokin Monday in the sixth inning,” Craig Taliani said. “We were pushed again today.
“We're expecting teams' best games, and we sure have (gotten them).”
Burrell tied the game with a three-run second inning as Kasey Wolford came home on a dropped fly ball, and Ashley Szymkowaik hammered a two-run single to center to tie the game at 3-3.
The Bucs tied the game again at 4-4 in the fourth on Melissa Mazzei's homer.
“If we get a couple of pitches where we want, we win this game,” Spagnolo said.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
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