Deer Lakes softball team bows out of state playoffs

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Thursday, June 9, 2022 | 8:59 PM


Deer Lakes entered Thursday’s PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal matchup with Bald Eagle hoping to punch its ticket to the state semifinals for the first time since 2015.

But the Eagles and freshman pitcher Sierra Albright had other ideas.

Albright limited Deer Lakes to five hits and struck out nine over seven innings, and BEA, the District 6 champion, scored twice in the second and once in the third en route to a 3-0 victory at St. Francis (Pa.).

The loss for the WPIAL runner-up Lancers capped their season at 14-6.

“It’s tough for the girls to see their season end, and they battled hard today,” Deer Lakes coach Rick Cerra said.

“(Sophomore) Maddie (Kee) pitched great, and our fielding was really good. A lot of the hits (BEA) got today they earned. We just didn’t get the hits that we needed.”

Bald Eagle, a Class 3A state finalist in 2019, improved to 18-4 and will face WPIAL champion Avonworth in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined.

The Antelopes advanced with a 7-4 victory Thursday over District 9 champ Karns City at Mars.

“The girls are playing well together, and they’re having a lot of fun,” BEA coach Don Lucas said of his youthful lineup that features four freshmen.

BEA finished with eight hits off of Kee.

The Eagles loaded the bases in the top of the second as cleanup hitter Marina Shawley drew a leadoff walk, Madison Perry reached with an infield single and Kierra Serb was hit by a pitch.

With two outs, No. 9 hitter Taylor Habovick lifted a ball to the outfield in front of Lancers center fielder Reese Hasley.

Hasley sprinted in and made a diving attempt, but the ball deflected off her glove and a pair of runs scored for a 2-0 BEA lead.

“Reese plays all out every time,” Cerra said. “She gave a great effort on that ball and almost had it.”

The Eagles made it 3-0 in the third as Ava Stere led off with an infield single and came around to score on a Perry single.

BEA then loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but Kee and the Deer Lakes defense worked out of the jam.

Kee retired 11 of the final 12 Eagles batters and finished the game with four strikeouts.

Deer Lakes’ best chances to score came in the second and the fourth.

Kee led off the second with a single that hit halfway up on the right-field fence. Hasley then drew a walk.

But Albright got Anna Bokulich to ground into a fielder’s choice in between strikeouts of Tia Germanich and Delanie Kaiser.

In the fourth, Kee reached on an infield single with one out, and Hasley followed with a walk.

But Albright again came up big with strikeouts of Germanich and Bokulich to quell the Lancers rally.

“Sierra just doesn’t get rattled,” Lucas said. “You don’t really find that too much in a ninth grader. She’s faced a lot of tough situations all season. She made some really good pitches and also had a lot of confidence in the girls behind her. She knows she doesn’t have to strike everyone out.”

Lydia Guthrie and Shayne Cerra recorded singles for the Lancers in fifth and sixth innings, respectively.

Pinch hitter Sophia Laurenza came on in the bottom of the seventh and reached safely with a two-out infield single.

Guthrie followed with a sharply hit ball to short, and she was called out on a close play at first to end the game.

“What a great season the girls had,” coach Cerra said. “I don’t know if many people expected us to be where we’re at, to be honest. But the girls work really hard all season and fought for the opportunity to play in these big games and get this far. The girls had confidence in each other. I am just so proud of each one of them. They should hold their heads up high for everything they accomplished this year.”

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

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