Friday, April 21, 2023 | 12:01 AM
The Deer Lakes softball team hoped to return to the win column against Freeport in a Section 1-3A game Friday and finish the bounceback from Tuesday’s eight-run setback to Class 5A power Armstrong.
The Lancers did just that against a Yellowjackets team hoping to stay competitive despite not having heart-and-soul junior pitcher Sydney Selker in the lineup.
Deer Lakes’ business-like approach at the plate and perfect pitching from junior Maddie Kee produced a 15-0 victory over the Yellowjackets in four innings.
“We definitely needed this,” said Deer Lakes senior center fielder Delanie Kaiser, who walked, singled, reached on an error and finished with three RBIs.
“We were able to get a win against a team that is usually competitive.”
Deer Lakes improved to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in section play. The Lancers take on Shady Side Academy on Monday before a rematch with Avonworth on Wednesday.
The Antelopes, who lost their first game of the season 9-2 against Neshannock in nonsection play Thursday, are 11-1 overall and 5-0 in the section. Avonworth defeated Deer Lakes, 4-0, on April 12.
Deer Lakes and Burrell are tied for second place at 3-2. The Bucs shut out Shady Side Academy, 14-0, on Friday.
“This always is a rivalry game between Deer Lakes and Freeport, so we knew what we needed to get done to get that momentum back on our side,” Lancers coach Rick Cerra said.
“Freeport is in a tough situation right now, but they are a good team and I see a lot of good things coming from them.”
Deer Lakes completed the section sweep of the Yellowjackets as it added Friday’s win to a 6-3 triumph April 3 at Freeport Community Park.
Selker is expected to miss an undetermined amount of time after suffering a concussion on an infield collision while playing at shortstop early in Wednesday’s 22-6 nonsection loss to rival Knoch.
She was set to be in the pitching circle Thursday as Freeport completed a suspended section game against Valley and was to start Friday’s matchup with the Lancers.
However, Yellowjackets coach Ron DeJidas and his coaching staff had to make changes, and senior Aimee Heasley, who had little pitching experience, got the nod.
She experienced control issues with seven walks. She also hit two batters. Deer Lakes got the first two runners on the bottom of the first, but Heasley worked out of the jam by inducing a pair of infield pop-ups and a flyout to center.
But the Lancers took control in the second with 10 runs, and Heasley eventually gave way to freshman Addy Gourley.
“Aimee did the best she could, and we wanted her to go one pitch at a time,” DeJidas said. “We do that with our at-bats, we do that in the field defensively, and we do that with our pitchers, no matter who is in there. She battled hard, and we had some girls makes some plays behind her. Our goal always is to work to get better each day, and we will continue to do that the next time we are on the field.”
Freeport, with Thursday’s loss to Valley and Friday’s setback to Deer Lakes, is 2-4 in the section and 4-7 overall. The Yellowjackets host Avonworth on Monday and visit Burrell on Wednesday.
Deer Lakes collected seven hits and drew five walks from Gourley as it put the game away.
“The strategy was to get good swings, make contact and put the ball in play,” Kaiser said. “That’s how you win games. We don’t want to walk. We want to hit. But at the same time, we needed to be disciplined with our at bats.”
Deer Lakes went into the bottom of the fourth needing one more run to have the game stopped by the mercy rule.
Kee led off the inning with a single, and she moved to second when the Freeport right fielder misplayed the ball.
She advanced to third on a groundout and came home on an infield single to short off the bat of Zoe Seitz.
Keestruck out all 12 batters she faced over her four innings.
Her outing was the second perfect game this week in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
Plum freshman Riley Stephans helped shut out Fox Chapel on Monday as she struck out nine and didn’t allowed a runner in a 12-0, five-inning triumph.
“I felt good out there,” Kee said. “I was just trying to throw strikes for them to hit the ball. I was a little surprised with all of the strikeouts. I didn’t expect to strike out every batter, but it ended up being that way.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
Tags: Deer Lakes, Freeport