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Deer Lakes eliminates Southmoreland softball team

| Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 8:43 p.m.
Southmoreland's Rikki Brown and Kelsey Kuhns celebrate a well-played inning against Deer Lakes during the softball game at Gateway High School on Wednesday May 16, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

The Southmoreland softball team's first trip to the WPIAL playoffs since 2001 didn't last long.

On Wednesday, Deer Lakes collected 16 hits, including eight in a seven-run fifth inning, as the Lancers defeated the Scotties, 12-2, in five innings in a WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game at Gateway.

The Scotties (12-6) fell behind early and couldn't catch up through the middle innings.

“We had chances to score runs, and we didn't do it,” Southmoreland coach Kim Kelley said after her team stranded eight baserunners. “We had people in position, and we just didn't get the timely hit. Deer Lakes is a good hitting team, and they hit the ball. Playing a team like that, you have to stay with them.”

After two quick outs, a Southmoreland error opened the door for the Lancers (16-1) to score three unearned runs in the first inning. Hannah Blinn, who had four hits, knocked in the game's first run with a single.

Tiffany Edwards, who had three hits, followed with a two-run double to help pitcher Hailey Moretti take the mound in the bottom of the inning with a 3-0 lead.

“Pitching with the lead makes a difference all the way around,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “I think (Moretti) did a decent job of keeping them off-balance.”

Moretti scattered seven hits, walked three and struck out three to earn the win.

The Scotties had a chance to climb back in the game, but left the bases loaded in the second. In the third, Southmoreland got on the board when Kelsey Kuhns singled and scored on a double by Vanessa Richards.

But in the fourth, Deer Lakes' Candace Scanga made it 5-1 with a two-run double. The Scotties responded with a run in their half of the fourth when Sam Suhan walked and scored on a single by Kuhns.

But then, the Lancers put it away by sending 12 to the plate in the fifth against Southmoreland pitcher Kristen Suhan.Katie Gozzard smacked a two-run double, and Sierra Sarver, Leanne Crawford and Blinn each singled in a run to highlight the Lancers' big inning.

“Opening it up in that inning was big,” Taliani said. “Hitting is contagious, and when one started hitting, everybody jumped in.”

Deer Lakes advanced to the quarterfinals and will take on Mohawk on Monday at a site and time to be announced.

For the Scotties, the loss did little to diminish what was a successful season.

“This was a good experience for us,” Kelley said. “I'm proud of the accomplishments that we made this season, and I'm proud of the girls today. One game doesn't make a season.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-626-3534.

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