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June 3, 2014

Lady Hounds rally for 8-7 win, advance to PIAA quarterfinals

- — ERIE — You can call them the “Comeback Kids,” or the “Cardiac Kids.”

Just don’t call the Wilmington High softball team quitters!

The Lady Greyhounds battled back from 4-0 and 7-4 deficits to capture a thrilling 8-7 win over WPIAL runner-up Deer Lakes on Monday evening at Penn State-Behrend.

“They keep plugging away,” Wilmington coach Tom Reed said. “These kids never give up. We’ve been doing this all year.”

Wilmington (17-3) will play the Bald Eagle Area/Seton-La Salle winner in the state quarterfinals on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.

Thursday is also Wilmington’s Baccalaureate.

“Elite Eight, we’re not happy with that, but we’ll take it for now,” Reed said. “I don’t know anything about either of them. Whoever won the game will host, so we’ll be traveling.

“The seniors will have their baccalaureate Thursday, so we’re gonna try to play early. We’re still gonna get two practices in. We’ll be ready on Thursday.”

Deer Lakes (13-4) took an early 1-0 lead when Siera Sarver doubled home Rachel Tanilli, who opened the game with a triple.

Four Deer Lakes hits and 3 Wilmington errors allowed the Lady Lancers to extend their lead to 4-0 in the top of the third.

“We had some errors early and they were able to get their four runs,” Reed said. “Those errors are uncharacteristic of us.”

The Lady Hounds didn’t have a base runner against Deer Lakes starter Tiffany Edwards until the third when Nikki McCown reached on an error.

She stole second, went to third on Chelsea Rogel’s infield single and scored on another Deer Lakes error on a Cassidy Marett grounder to third. Lexi Donati made it 4-2 by plating Rogel with a single.

“We were able to come back and force them into some errors,” Reed said. “We were able to get some momentum back with some big hits.”

Alanna Elliott singled and scored in the bottom of the third and Donati forced a 4-4 stalemate by scoring on Courtney Cohen’s single in the fourth.

The Lady Lancers regained the lead in the sixth. An infield hit and a Wilmington error put runners in scoring position with one away.

Tanilli delivered her second three-bagger of the evening to put Deer Lakes up 6-4. Tanilli scored on Katie Gozzard’s 2-out single for a 7-4 lead.

Wilmington’s “Comeback Kids” retaliated with four runs in the bottom of the sixth.

No. 7 hitter Aryn Boyer kick-started the rally with a one-out single and went to third when McCown’s grounder was misplayed by Deer Lakes’ shortstop and center fielder. Ashley Houk belted a RBI single to plate Boyer.

Gozzard fielded Rogel’s grounder and attempted to gun down McCown at the plate, but McCown wasn't tagged, cutting the deficit to 7-6.

Marett legged out an infield single, scoring Houk. Marett went to second on an error, which allowed Rogel to score the game-winning run.

“We’ve been down before, but these kids never give up,” Reed said. “The bottom of our order got us going. I couldn’t be happier.”

Marett and Boyer each had two hits for Wilmington, who took advantage of 6 Deer Lakes errors. Rogel and McCown each scored twice.

“It took us a while to catch up with her,” Reed said of Deer Lakes’ Edwards. “We were impatient at the plate. We knew she had a good change-up. We worked on that at practice (Tuesday). The kids just didn’t react well to it at all.”

Kayleigh Shenker picked up the win by scattering 10 hits over 7 innings, while walking one and striking out one. She allowed five earned runs.

Notes: The game started over 2 hours late after rain delayed action in each of the first two games of the tripleheader. ... McCown hurt her left leg scoring in the sixth inning. Her availability for Thursday is uncertain. ... Tanilli went 4-for-4 with 2 triples and 2 singles, while Sarver had two doubles for Deer Lakes. They each had 2 RBIs. ... Gozzard, Maria Taliani and Stephanie Drapela each 2 singles. Edwards worked 6 innings, allowed 3 earned runs on 8 hits, no walks and 3 strikeouts.

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