Radvan, Freeport shut down Deer Lakes for Section 1-3A victory

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 | 7:39 PM

Tori Radvan wanted another shot at Deer Lakes, given what happened the last time she threw a pitch against the Lancers. And Freeport’s ace took full advantage of her second chance.

Radvan pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out eight and hit a solo homer to lead Freeport over Section 1-3A rival Deer Lakes, 2-0, Wednesday afternoon at Freeport Community Park.

The Yellowjackets (9-2, 7-2) leap-frogged the Lancers for second place in the section and avenged a 7-4 walk-off loss earlier this season at Deer Lakes.

“We just came out and played like we knew how,” Radvan said. “After last time, I gave up the walk-off home run, so I came out ready to pitch this game and didn’t have any doubt. I just didn’t want to do it again, so I just pitched like I could.”

Radvan allowed just a Maura Cerra leadoff double in the first inning and Keeghan Cook’s one-out single in the seventh inning. She walked three and retired 12 Deer Lakes batters in a row at one point.

Deer Lakes (7-8, 7-3) threatened in the top of the seventh, putting the tying run on first base with two outs. But Radvan got pitching opponent Marleen Meyer to pop out to end the game.

“September, she had a major ACL (injury),” Freeport coach Sam Ross said of Radvan, who tore the ligament in her knee during volleyball season and didn’t return to action until this spring. “Each time she’s out practicing, game-wise, it’s out of your mind, but you can’t forget it. She’s come a long way, and I’m really proud of her.”

Meyer pitched a gem of her own for Deer Lakes, yielding Radvan’s two-out homer over the center-field wall in the bottom of the first inning. Freeport’s second run scored on a Meyer error in the bottom of the sixth.

“(Radvan) kept us off balance,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “We didn’t square up too many balls, and they hit just enough. They were a very determined team, playing for their senior day. It was a very good softball game.”

Freeport right fielder Taylor Davis gave the Yellowjackets a boost on defense in the first inning.

After Cerra’s leadoff double, Deer Lakes’ Hannah Mass hit a ground ball that went under first baseman Maddie Shanta’s glove for an error. Davis, backing up the play, fired home to get Cerra trying to score.

“It makes me relaxed more knowing that the fielders have my back, and I don’t have to concentrate more on striking out everyone,” Radvan said.

The play became a possible turning point when Radvan clubbed her home run in the bottom of the inning.

Cerra made a heads-up play of her own in the field in the bottom of the third.

With two runners on and one out, Radvan singled to right to potentially load the bases.

But Cerra, after receiving the throw from the outfield, spotted baserunner Emily Schmidt caught between second and third. Cerra ran Schmidt down from her second base position and tagged her out, then threw home to nail Davis trying to score.

“Maura Cerra made one of the best defensive plays I’ve seen in a high school game,” Taliani said.

The play kept the deficit at 1-0, but Freeport scored an insurance run in the sixth when Radvan led off with a single, moved to third on an Autumn Powell single and scored on a throwing error by Meyer.

The win kept Freeport alive for the section championship, or at least a share, pending what Burrell (9-2, 7-1) did Wednesday and Thursday against Valley.

“I’m very proud of the team,” Ross said. “Deer Lakes always is a very well-coached team, fundamentally sound. You’ve got to play your best to beat them.”

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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