2022 WPIAL Class 3A softball championship preview: Avonworth vs. Deer Lakes

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Tuesday, May 31, 2022 | 4:03 PM


WPIAL Class 3A softball championship

1-Avonworth (16-4) vs. 3-Deer Lakes (13-3)

Noon Wednesday at Lilley Field, Cal (Pa.)

On the air: Trib HSSN (Video)

Road to the finals

Avonworth When the Antelopes lost their final three games of the regular season, it might have looked like the undefeated Section 2 champions were showing some cracks in their armor. Not quite. Matchups with schools such as North Hills and Belle Vernon were playoff tune-ups, not disappointing setbacks. Once the postseason started, the ‘Lopes were on point. In the quarterfinals, they met No. 8 Mt. Pleasant, the defending WPIAL champ that seemed to find its footing after an up-and-down season. Avonworth sent the Vikings packing, 5-2. In the semifinals, Avonworth blanked Southmoreland, 3-0.

Deer Lakes The third-seeded Lancers lost their first two games of the year to Greensburg Central Catholic and Chartiers-Houston in March and a couple of playoff tune-ups to larger schools in Knoch and Shaler. In between, they put together 13 straight wins and an 8-0 section record. They had two battles on their hands in the playoffs, however. In the quarterfinals, they scored two in the fourth to get past No. 6 Waynesburg, 3-2, and in the semifinals, they held off a rally from No. 2 South Allegheny and won, 5-4.

Secret to their success

Avonworth — Sophomore Alivia Lantzy is a major problem for Avonworth’s opponents. In 14 innings in the playoffs, she has allowed two runs and six hits and struck out 24. She homered against Mt. Pleasant in the quarterfinals and hit a two-run triple against Southmoreland in the semifinals. Shortstop Syd Savatt is a catalyst at the top of the lineup who had two hits against Mt. Pleasant. First baseman Leah Kuban is a power bat in the middle of the lineup who homered against Southmoreland.

Deer Lakes — There are no obvious holes in the Lancers’ game. Their pitching is solid. Sophomore Maddie Kee has 15 strikeouts in 14 postseason innings. Their offense is also formidable. Kee led the team with seven doubles and 24 RBIs this season. Senior outfielder Reese Hasley makes things happen with a team-best .441 batting average and .500 on-base percentage. Sophomore catcher Tia Germanich led the team with four homers to go along with 23 RBIs.

Championship factoids

Avonworth — The Antelopes have been prominent in the WPIAL title picture for the last five years. They won a championship in 2019, beating Keystone Oaks, 12-0, in the finals. They also reached the semifinals in 2021 and 2018.

Deer Lakes — The Lancers set the standard in Class 3A softball last decade, making the WPIAL finals four times from 2012-2017 and winning championships in 2012 and 2015. Before this year’s run to the finals, they went three seasons without a playoff win, which must have felt like an eternity for a program so successful in the recent past.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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