Content courtesy of the Trib HSSN:
In a game that featured a number of strange plays and extra-base hits, a key was a single that traveled five feet.
Deer Lakes used the short single as a catalyst for a six-run sixth-inning to defeat Burrell, 10-6, in an early-season, Class 3A, Section 1 baseball showdown.
No. 4 Burrell (4-2, 2-2) led, 4-2, after five innings.
But in the Lancers’ sixth — after two singles and two errors brought home a run — freshman Justin Brannigan’s pop up barely missed the high voltage wires at Huston Middle School field.
It landed fair in front of home plate for a single to load the bases.
Up came Josh Probst, who lined a bases-clearing, three-run double to deep center.
With two outs, Greg Geis blasted a towering home run to left-center field to score Probst and give the Lancers (3-3, 3-0) an 8-4 advantage to chase Burrell reliever Luke Virag.
“Off the bat, I thought I hit it squarely,” Geis said. “I tried not to watch it, but I couldn’t help it. I saw it go over.”
After some controversy over the designated hitter rule, and leaving a number of runners stranded in the early innings, the Lancers erupted.
“Some things went our way after we had some issues,” Deer Lakes coach Josh Tysk said. “We get a couple guys on base and then we get some big hits. Kid in left field tried to make a great catch and came up a little shy on it, then Josh Probst got the big double.”
“We made some costly mistakes,” Bucs coach Mark Spohn said. “That pop fly in front of the plate, they capitalized on it.”
Burrell scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth after two were out and none on. Eli Ferres singled through the hole on the right side with the bases loaded to bring home Tanner Spohn and Luke Virag, who had picked up his fourth single of the game to help keep the inning alive.
Deer Lakes, however, wasn’t finished. Brannagan’s double to left scored two runs to put the Lancers in front, 10-6.
Brannagan, who relieved starter Geis after his 100-pitch allotment was exhausted, picked up the save after retiring the final four Burrell batters after Ferres’ single.
Geis struck out eight in 52⁄3 innings.
Burrell starter Tanner Spohn escaped damage in the first inning. After picking Brannagan off first, Probst hit a deep liner that hit halfway up the high fence in left field. But Spohn induced a pop up from Will Meyer to end the inning.
The Lancers pushed across two runs in the second on singles by Ryan Rodgers and Cory Newman. Burrell answered in the bottom of the second with Marshall McKallip scoring on Seth Fischbach’s double.
The Bucs took the lead with two runs, highlighted by Tyler Mock’s double.
Note: Deer Lakes’ game against Steel Valley scheduled for Friday was moved to 4 p.m. Thursday due to predicted poor weather.