Henderson, Burrell blank No. 1 Deer Lakes in Section 1-3A
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 | 8:14 PM
Jack Henderson wanted to finish the game.
The pitch-count rules, however, didn’t permit him to do so.
But the Bucs junior fashioned a gem against Deer Lakes on Wednesday before he exited the game with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Henderson limited a potent Lancers lineup to just three hits, and solo home runs from Trent Valochik and Tyler Mock were all the runs Burrell needed in a 2-0 Section 1-3A victory.
“My goal was just to put the ball down the plate, let them hit it, and my defense was behind me the whole game,” said Henderson, who walked two and struck out four against the No. 1 team in the Trib HSSN rankings.
Luke Virag came on with a runner on first and got Deer Lakes designated hitter Drew Pavlik to ground out to second to end the game.
“(Leaving the game) was rough, but I am glad we got the win,” Henderson said. “I did my job, and Luke came in and finished it off. (The victory) was huge against the No. 1 team.”
With the win, Burrell (9-3, 6-3) officially clinched a spot in the WPIAL playoffs. The Bucs host nonsection Ambridge on Friday before capping the regular season next week with section games against Steel Valley (Monday), South Allegheny (Tuesday) and Valley (Wednesday).
“The teams in this section are good, and it usually comes down to a play or two that decides it,” Burrell coach Mark Spohn said. “You just have to make the plays, and today, we made the plays.”
Deer Lakes saw its five-game winning streak snapped as it fell to 9-6 overall. The Lancers remain in the top spot in the section standings at 7-1.
“This loss hurts, but I told them that we have to be prepared to come to practice (Thursday), work hard, do our job and come back to what we do best,” Lancers coach Josh Tysk said.
Deer Lakes will look to bounce back Friday at Steel Valley.
“Friday is a new day,” Tysk said. “There is a lot still in front of us, and we’re still on top (in the section).”
Henderson and the Burrell defense worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first. Only one Deer Lakes batter reached over the next four innings. Jake Yaconis singled to lead off the fifth but was picked off first by Mock from his catcher position.
Greg Geis singled to lead off the seventh, but was erased on a fielder’s choice. Henderson struck out the last batter he faced.
“Jack did a fantastic job for us,” Spohn said. “He mixed up his pitches, changed speeds and did exactly what we needed him to do. It was an all-around team effort on defense. I don’t think we had an error. Then we got key hits when we needed them.”
Valochik got Burrell on the board as he connected on his homer with two outs in the fifth.
“Off the bat, I really didn’t think I hit it out,” Valochik said. “I thought it was just going to left field. But the wind was pushing out that way. The ball carried, and it ended up going over.
“We had been talking ever since we lost to them that the revenge tour is coming whenever we played them again. It felt good to get the ‘W’ today, and we’re going to just keep rolling from here.”
Mock’s shot came with two outs in the sixth.
Will Meyer took the loss for the Lancers. He, too, exited the game with two outs in the seventh after reaching his pitch-count limit.
Meyer gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out seven.
“He’s been a plus guy for us all year and has worked deep into a number of games,” Tysk said. “He’s worked good counts and has not walked a lot of guys. He did his job and helped keep us in the game. He deserved a better fate today.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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