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Hutchinson’s heroics secure Deer Lakes’ victory

Tribune-Review
| Tuesday, June 9, 2015 9:12 p.m
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maureen Hutchinson smiles as she embraces Vince Taliani, father of coach Craig Taliani, after their victory over Cambridge Springs in a PIAA semifinal game Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at Slippery Rock.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Katie Gozzard (right) celebrates as the final out is made to secure a victory over Cambridge Springs during their PIAA semifinal Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at Slippery Rock.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Rachel Tanilli (13) celebrates her team's victory over Cambridge Springs with fans after the PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes catcher Sarah Blinn (10) throws to first after a chopped bunt by Cambridge Springs' Selaina Dragosavac (3) during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maurenn Hutchinson (33) brings in the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning against Cambridge Springs during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes pitcher Tiffany Edwards (9) jumps into the arms of Katie Gozzard (23) after recording the final out against Cambridge Springs during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maria Taliani, left, and Tiffany Edwards embrace after they defeated Cambridge Springs in the PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maureen Hutchinson smiles as she embraces Vince Taliani, father of coach Craig Taliani, after their victory over Cambridge Springs in a PIAA semifinal game Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at Slippery Rock.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes catcher Sarah Blinn (10) fields a chopped bunt against Cambridge Springs during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maria Taliani reacts after being advanced to third base by Stephanie Drapela during the eighth inning of a PIAA Class semifinal game against Cambridge Springs on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at Slippery Rock.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes catcher Sarah Blinn watches as she misses a pop-up as Cambridge Springs' Amy King (24) records an RBI in the bottom of the third inning during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maria Taliani (12) is greeted at home plate by teammates after hitting a home run against Cambridge Springs in the top of the second inning in their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Stephanie Drapela (20) scores the winning run in the top of the eighth inning against Cambridge Springs during their PIAA Class AA semifinal game Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at Slippery Rock.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Stephanie Drapela (20) applies the tag as Cambridge Springs' Amy King (24) slides safely into second base during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maria Taliani (12) catches a fly ball in left field against Cambridge Springs in the bottom of the second inning in their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maria Taliani (12) is tagged out at home plate by Cambridge Springs' Kayla Parkin (19) while attempting to score on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth inning during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Katie Gozzard (23) slides safely into home plate past the tag of Cambridge Springs' Kierstin Skelton (16) in the top of the third inning during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' head coach Craig Taliani is restrained by first base coach John Yourish as he argues a call with the home plate umpire in the top of the eighth inning against Cambridge Springs during their PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Rachel Tanilli (13) celebrates her team's victory over Cambridge Springs with fans after the PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maria Taliani, left, and Tiffany Edwards embrace after they defeated Cambridge Springs in the PIAA semifinal game at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
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Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Deer Lakes' Maria Taliani reacts after being advanced to third base by Stephanie Drapela during the eighth inning of a PIAA Class semifinal game against Cambridge Springs on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at Slippery Rock.

SLIPPERY ROCK — After missing out what could have been the catch of the year — or at least the PIAA tournament — Deer Lakes junior center fielder Maureen Hutchinson came through with a hit in the eighth inning.

Hutchinson dropped a single into right-center field to score Stephanie Drapela with the winning run as the Lancers secured a spot in the state Class AA title game with a 4-3 victory over Cambridge Springs.

In the bottom of the sixth, Cambridge Spring’s Amy King led off with a double. It looked like Deer Lakes pitcher Tiffany Edwards was going to pitch out of the Blue Devils’ threat, striking out the next two batters.

Erica White, however, hit a fly ball behind the right side of the infield. Hutchinson, playing deep, covered a considerable amount of ground before stretching to catch the ball. But she rolled and the ball popped out for a single, scoring King to put Cambridge Springs in front 3-2.

Deer Lakes tied it in the seventh, setting the stage for Hutchinson’s heroics.

“We always try to pick each other up,” Hutchinson said. “I just wanted to put the ball in play and good things happen. And it happened and we got a good thing out of it.”

“Sometimes, clutch hitting is better than great hitting,” Lancers coach Craig Taliani said. “We’ve had great hitting all year. Today, we needed to hit in the clutch situations and we did. For Maureen to come back and put the ball in play and get that hit, that was incredible. Maureen was so clutch.”

The previous delivery by Blue Devils pitcher Kayla Parkin was a wild pitch, and Maria Taliani was tagged out at the plate.

While that was going on, Drapela was making her way from first base to third.

“I was stealing second,” Drapela said. “I turned and looked and the ball was coming home, so I went to third, and I was safe there.”

The play was just one in a see-saw battle with a berth in the state title game at stake.

“You just have to keep focused, keep your head in the game,” Drapela said. “We wanted this game, and we got it.”

After Taliani was intentionally walked for the third time, Drapela bunted down the first base line, beating the ball to first. Taliani went to third when the ball got past first baseman Kristen Kargol.

“There’s going to be adversity at this point of the season,” coach Taliani said. “Everybody’s going to make plays. The team that can overcome adversity will walk away the winner.”

Friday will mark the first time a female Deer Lakes team will vie for a state title since 1985 when the girls basketball team brought home PIAA gold.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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