Deer Lakes softball bounces back with win over Valley

Friday, April 14, 2023 | 7:46 PM

The Deer Lakes softball team got back in the win column Friday, two days after suffering its first loss of the season.

The Lancers, who fell to Section 1-3A leader Avonworth on Wednesday, returned to the field at section rival Valley and collected 10 hits en route to a 5-0 victory over the Vikings.

“It was a good win for us,” Deer Lakes coach Rick Cerra said.

“We wanted to come back and get that winning feeling again. Honestly, we felt OK about our game against Avonworth the other day. Two hits were the difference in that game.

“We always know, when we come here, (Valley head coach) Carol (Perroz) is going to have her team ready. They are always ready for us.”

Deer Lakes improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the section. The Lancers step away from section play Tuesday with a game at defending WPIAL Class 5A champion and 2022 PIAA runner-up Armstrong.

The Lancers then host Freeport (4-4, 2-2) on Friday in a rematch of a 6-3 Deer Lakes win from April 3.

“We’re excited for what’s to come next week,” senior first baseman Tira Waksmonski said.

“We have a really good section, and we have been competing really well as a team.”

Waksmonski, a first-year starter for the Lancers, belted her first varsity home run with one out in the top of the fourth. The ball hit the top of the 10-foot fence in right field and went over.

The round-tripper extended Deer Lakes’ lead to 2-0.

“Tira waited to her senior year to start, and she has really played well for us,” Cerra said.

“She’s producing at the plate and playing well defensively. It is great to see.”

The Lancers got all they would need two innings earlier as pitcher Maddie Kee reached on an error to lead off the top of the second and came around to score on a two-out double from Anna Bokulich.

Deer Lakes padded its advantage in the top of the fifth with three runs on four hits. Kee and Bokulich each drove in runs in the inning off Valley senior starting pitcher Morgan Dunkel.

Three of the Lancers’ 10 hits off Dunkel came from leadoff hitter and center fielder Delanie Kaiser.

She finished 3 for 4 with singles in the fifth and sixth innings and a double in the second.

Valley, which fell to 4-5 overall, 1-3 in the section, committed a pair of errors, and those miscues led to three unearned runs. Dunkel struck out four and walked one.

“We had a few problems here and there defensively, but the girls are always working on being better there,” Perroz said. “They are not slacking at all. With Morgan, whether she gives up a hit or something happens behind her, she doesn’t get rattled and gets back in the circle to be the leader we need her to be.”

Perroz pointed to a running, extended catch by center fielder Tori Johnson to rob Deer Lakes’ Shayne Cerra of a hit in the third inning.

Kee was solid in the circle for Deer Lakes. She surrendered four hits and struck out six while walking none.

“She’s been lighting it up all season for us,” coach Cerra said. “She’s probably over 70 strikeouts already and is really keeping her walks down.”

Vikings second baseman Ryleigh Kasten had her team’s lone extra-base hit with a double to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

But she was not able to advance as Kee induced a popup to short, a flyout to left field and a strikeout to end the threat.

Valley had at least one runner reach base in five innings and a runner make it to second in three of the five.

“We just didn’t come up with those clutch hits that we needed to put a little more pressure on them,” Perroz said.

“When you get a lead like that, you feel good when you have a good pitcher on the mound. (Kee) did a nice job for them. We were able to get to her a little bit, but nothing to put anything together.”

Right fielder Jade Norman led the Vikings with a pair of singles.

She collected her first hit with two outs in the second, and left fielder Haley Demharter followed with a single to put two runners on base. But Kee fanned third baseman Jessica Staraniec to leave the runners stranded.

Valley is back in action Monday at Freeport.

“There is no let up in this section,” Perroz said.

“You have to be ready to play each time out. I like that. I like the competition. We’ve been competitive, and we’re looking forward to Monday.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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