P-O finally gets to play, moves into semis

BEDFORD – Philipsburg-Osceola and Deer Lakes were supposed to play their PIAA Class AA quarterfinal game on Thursday, but two days of rain pushed it to Saturday.

The Lady Mounties were more than ready to play the game.

They scored three runs in the first inning off of Tiffany Edwards, which is all they scored in the game, and all they needed, as Kate Burge overcame some first-inning control problems, tossed a four-hitter and got an errorless defensive effort behind her to earn a 3-1 win on a sunny afternoon at Bedford.

“It’s just unbelievable that we came out and got three runs in the first inning,” Burge said. “You can’t ask for anything else as a pitcher, knowing your team just got three runs in the first inning. I thought we were going to get more throughout the game because of how well we hit her in the first inning, but we were putting the ball in play.

“I don’t think I pitched great, but I think I did enough to win the game. They put the ball in play, and they were harder hits, but knowing my defense is there, is good for me, and I can relax a little more.”

“The first inning was the game right there,” Lancers coach Craig Taliani said. “We talked about shutting them down and getting a lead early, but [P-O] hit the ball.”

P-O (23-1) will continue its state tournament tour of WPIAL teams as it plays unbeaten Riverside in the semifinals at 4 p.m. on Monday at Brockway High School. Riverside hammered District 6 runner-up Ligonier Valley, 13-0, on Friday.

Friday night, Burge, catcher Carly Gonder, second baseman McKayla Myers and right fielder Aisha Goss graduated. P-O didn’t practice on Friday because of the six-day practice rule, so coach Jim Gonder gathered his seniors together and gave them some advice.

“He told us no parties, be careful and just go home,” Carly Gonder said of her uncle.

“He just told us to be smart,” Burge said. “All four of us seniors are not stupid about it, but he just wanted to remind us that peer pressure can happen.”

Did he have to say that?

“No, I don’t think so,” Carly Gonder said. “I think we all know how important this is.”

Carly Gonder, coming off of a big game against Chartiers-Houston, started the first inning with a walk and moved to second on a Haley Frank sacrifice bunt. Mackenzie Burge plated Gonder with a triple to the left-center field gap, and she scored on a ball 4 wild pitch to Abby Showers.

“It felt pretty good coming off the bat,” Mackenzie Burge said of her triple. “I just stayed back and hit it.”

Showers scored when Kate Burge doubled to the left-center gap.

After that, Edwards settled into a groove and didn’t allow another hit until Showers beat out a high comebacker to the pitching circle in the sixth inning.

“She’s real crafty,” Jim Gonder said of Edwards. “She worked the outside of the plate, changed speeds and is probably one of the best pitchers I’ve seen from that perspective.”

In between, the Lancers turned two double plays, including in the fifth, when Alyssa Shedlock was gunned down at home after trying to score on a Frank fly ball.

The Lancers mounted a threat in the first, also, but they didn’t score after loading the bases on a Becca Babincak infield hit and two Burge walks.

Babincak initially scored on Hannah Blinn’s sacrifice fly, but the run was erased because Jim Gonder appealed successfully that courtesy runner Maria Taliani didn’t tag up at second base when she went to third on the out. She was ruled out, and the run didn’t count.

“The girl at second base was drifting watching the catch, and she didn’t go back and tag,” Jim Gonder said. “It was an easy call.”

Deer Lakes scored its only run in the third when Babincak, who went 2-for-3, tripled to left field and came home on Katie Gozzard’s single to right.

The Lancers were denied another extra base hit in the second when Goss made a spectacular diving catch of a Maureen Hutchinson drive toward the line.

“For me to turn around and see my left fielder lay out was just awesome,” Kate Burge said.

Showers made a nice catch of a Rachel Tanilli fly ball into short left field to start the third, and she had back-to-back assists to end the fourth.

After Leanne Crawford’s infield hit to start the fifth, Kate Burge retired nine straight. The last out came when Carly Gonder caught Crawford’s pop-up behind the plate.

“Those are awful. I hate those,” the catcher said with a laugh. “That was probably the first one I’ve caught all year. I don’t know why I can’t them. I’m glad it happened like that, though.”

PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (3): Gonder c 210, Frank rf 200, M. Burge 1b 311, Showers ss 211, K. Burge p 301, Goss lf 200, Hayward 3b 200, Bainey cf 300, Shedlock dp 301, Myers 2b 000. Totals – 22-3-4.

DEER LAKES (1): Babincak ss 312, Gozzard 2b 301, Edwards p 200, Taliani cr 000, Sarver 1b 200, H. Blinn c 300, Lubick dp 300, Hutchinson cf 300, Crawford lf 301, Tanilli rf 200, S. Blinn 3b 000. Totals – 24-1-4.


Philipsburg-Osceola300 000 0-3 4 0

Deer Lakes001 000 0-1 4 1

E-Crawford. 2B-K. Burge. 3B-M. Burge; Babincak. RBI-M. Burge, K. Burge; Gozzard. SAC-Gonder, Frank. HBP-Goss. DP-Philipsburg-Osceola 1; Deer Lakes 2. LOB-Philipsburg-Osceola 4, Deer Lakes 4.


Philipsburg-Osceola-K. Burge (W) 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO.

Deer Lakes-Edwards (L) 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO.

Records: Philipsburg-Osceola (23-1); Deer Lakes (19-2).