No. 2 Burrell rallies again, defeats Deer Lakes for 8th straight victory

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Monday, April 29, 2019 | 8:15 PM


Charlie Confer put it succinctly: Even when Burrell is down, the Bucs are up.

Put enough comebacks together, as Burrell is doing this softball season, and a team develops a comfort when the game is on the line.

Burrell provided another example Monday, as Confer’s go-ahead, two-run double in the top of the sixth inning lifted the No. 2 Bucs to a 5-4 win over Deer Lakes in a game for first place in Section 1-3A.

“I just think that we have passion,” Confer said. “Our bench is up the whole game. Even if we’re down, we’re still up emotionally; we’re still there. We just put up a really big fight to win every game.”

The Bucs (9-2, 7-1) won their eighth consecutive game to move into first place in the section, a half-game ahead of Deer Lakes (7-7, 7-2), with two section games remaining. If Burrell beats Valley on Wednesday and Thursday, it will claim its first section championship since 2016 and its first outright title since 2011.

“We’ve come close my last two years playing here, and it would just be really nice to win another section for coach Brian (Eshbaugh) and everyone on the team,” Confer said.

If Burrell does finish the job, it can thank its ability to rally. The Bucs overcame multiple-run deficits in the late innings in both games against Deer Lakes and another against Freeport — their closest competitors in the section.

Monday the Bucs came back from a three-run deficit by scoring a run in the fifth and three in the sixth, capped by Confer’s bases-loaded double.

“Two games, and in two games the total run differential is two,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “It’s nice to say we played good games, and we did — I’m very proud of our effort. But at the same time, you’ve got to give credit to Burrell for finding a way to get that extra run in.

“They came out on top, and we’re still trying to get to that next gear. Hopefully, we’ll get there soon.”

Deer Lakes came out full-throttle, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning on RBI doubles by Hannah Mass and Makayla Blair and a Keeghan Cook run-scoring single. After Burrell scored a run in the top of the second on a pair of errors, the Lancers retook the three-run advantage in the fourth on a Reese Hasley single.

Lancers pitcher Marleen Meyer quieted Burrell’s bats through four innings, limiting the Bucs to two hits and an unearned run, before they began to pick up late.

“She’s the one that kept them in the game, I think,” Eshbaugh said. “She had us off-balance. We were guessing, and until we calmed down and got back onto our game, that’s how we came through. We were a little too anxious. Until we started laying off the changeups, that’s what kind of rallied us back.”

Cara Fiore’s RBI single cut Deer Lakes’ lead to 4-2 in the top of the fifth.

In the sixth, Elizabeth Clark led off the inning and reached on a two-base error. Sara Clark — whose walk-off home run beat Deer Lakes in the teams’ first meeting — drove in her younger sister with a single.

Two walks loaded the bases for Confer, who drove a ball to the wall in right-center. All three runners crossed the plate, but one run was wiped off the board when Burrell was called for interference.

Burrell starter Caroline Dynka made sure it didn’t matter, stranding two Deer Lakes batters in the bottom of the sixth and retiring the Lancers in order in the seventh.

“The way we practice, we know we have the ability to beat any team out there, no matter the competition,” Confer said. “We have the ability to put up runs on teams like this who are competition to us.”

Deer Lakes remains alive for a section title, pending Burrell’s results against Valley. The Lancers have a big game looming Wednesday at Freeport (8-2, 6-2).

“There’s nobody feeling sorry for us,” Taliani said. “That’s what I just told the girls: You’re going into a hostile environment on Wednesday. … They’d love to turn around and do to us what we did to them the first time here. So we want to do our best to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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