Deer Lakes softball holds off South Allegheny, reaches WPIAL Class 3A final

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 7:26 PM


The Deer Lakes softball team is back where it has been several times over the past decade.

The Lancers, the No. 3 seed in the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs, punched their tickets to their sixth WPIAL title game since 2012 with a 5-4 victory over No. 2 South Allegheny on Tuesday at West Mifflin.

“I am super excited that we are in the title game,” said senior center fielder Reese Hasley, who went 3 for 4 and hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth that turned out to be the winner.

South Allegheny scored twice in the bottom of the seventh.

“It took everyone right from the start, at the plate and in the field,” Hasley said. “I just hope we can keep it going.”

The Lancers, who collected 11 hits off of Gladiators starter Breena Komarnisky, improved to 13-4 overall and will face Avonworth, a 3-0 winner over Southmoreland on Tuesday, in the championship game June 1 at Cal (Pa.) ‘S Lilley Field.

Deer Lakes will play for a WPIAL title for the first time since 2017, when it finished as runner-up to Ellwood City before reaching the PIAA quarterfinals. The Lancers made four straight WPIAL title games from 2012-15, winning titles in 2012 and ’15.

The win for Deer Lakes also puts it in the PIAA playoffs, which begin June 6. But the Lancers will put the state-tournament berth on the back burner for a week as they prepare to go after WPIAL gold.

“We’ve worked hard for this whole season, not taking a day off,” said sophomore pitcher Maddie Kee, who surrendered eight hits and struck out seven while walking just one.

“I think we all really deserve this chance.”

South Allegheny fell to 13-4 with the loss, but the Gladiators are not done. They will play Thursday afternoon against section rival Southmoreland in the third-place game with a trip to the PIAA playoffs on the line. South Allegheny swept the Scotties in the play section.

“It’s not over,” South Allegheny coach Jennifer Stockett said.

“(Kee) was a really good pitcher, and she put it in there. But we have states coming up. You never know. We could surprise everybody there. It’s upsetting (to not get the win), but I told them, ‘You got this far. Be proud of yourselves. ‘ ”

Of South Allegheny’s eight hits, three came in the bottom of the seventh. Kee’s only walk came against pinch hitter Cameran Colecchi to lead off the inning.

Kee came back and struck out Lulu Kirkwood for the first out.

Lily Dranko, the No. 9 hitter in the Gladiators lineup, singled to right. On the play, Colecchi rounded second and started to third. The throw in from the outfield caught her in a rundown for the second out.

That play loomed large as Madison Pikula singled and Komarnisky singled home Dranko and Pikula to close the Deer Lakes lead to one.

Komarnisky, who struck out seven Lancers, finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs.

Hasley’s home run, the first of her varsity career, came with one out in the fifth. Shayne Cerra, who led off the inning with a single, crossed home on Hasley’s blast.

“That was a surreal feeling,” Hasley said. “As soon as I hit it, I felt it. It was a good ball. Before it, my dad was telling me to put some more butt into it and drive my hips. That is exactly what I did. ”

Said Deer Lakes coach Rick Cerra: “I can not put it into words how excited I am for these girls.

“I knew it was not going to be easy. I was so proud of the way they battled the whole way through. We knew what we had in front of us if we won. They did what they needed to do when they needed to do it. We have some time to clean up a few things. I have faith in these girls. They’ve proved time and time again that they deserve to be where they’re at. “

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Tags: Deer LakesSouth Allegheny

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