High School Sports

Teacher gets best of pupil

Penns Valley softball coach Tessa Deardorff calls to her player at bat during the Tuesday, March 29, 2016 game against Bald Eagle Area.
Penns Valley softball coach Tessa Deardorff calls to her player at bat during the Tuesday, March 29, 2016 game against Bald Eagle Area. adrey@centredaily.com

There was plenty of drama surrounding Tuesday’s softball game between Bald Eagle Area and Penns Valley.

BEA coach Don Lucas had been the head coach at Penns Valley for 31 years through last season, and one of his stars was Tessa Deardorff, who was sitting in the opponent’s dugout as the new coach of the Lady Rams.

But the drama melted away once BEA’s Moreta Dyke threw the first pitch of the game to Paige Kerstetter. After that it was just a softball game between rivals, one in which the coach taught the former pupil a 10-0, five-inning lesson.

“I talked to him (Lucas) before the season started and before the game,” said Deardorff, who was a standout collegiately at Lebanon Valley. “We’re all good there. He’s been very helpful to me. He taught me a lot. I worked with him for a lot of years.”

For Lucas it was bittersweet, picking up a win at the expense of a former player.

“It’s a comfort to look across there and see a former player taking charge over there,” he said. “I’m really proud of her. I could tell from watching them she’s doing a great job.”

And for two innings the Lady Rams hung with the Lady Eagles, allowing only a run in the first inning on a classic Lucas strategy as Morgan Nyman rapped a single, stole second, took third on the errant throw down and scored on a single by Olivia Andrews.

But in the third Penns Valley’s defense started leaking oil and it cost it seven runs. With one out Nyman singled and stole second, and Andrews followed with a single. Back-to-back Penns Valley errors allowed Nyman and Andrews to score, Morgan Peters doubled to right for two runs, Sydney Shultz singled Peters home, another error allowed Shultz to score and Zoe Surovec, who reached on another error, scored on an infield out by Madison Ripka. When the smoke cleared BEA was holding an 8-0 lead .

“Those were routine plays,” Deardorff said of the errors. “They have to learn that you have to make the routine plays before you can make the spectacular plays. You have to focus on the fundamentals.

“I do think it got to some of the girls, looking over there and seeing their former coach, there was a lot of pressure there. But I think we can be good with some hard work.”

BEA closed out the game with no outs in the fifth when Andrews was hit by pitch, took second on a passed ball and scored on Megan Kresovich’s triple. Dyke followed with a double to left to drive in Kresovich with the game-ending run.

“Obviously, they kicked the ball around,” Lucas said. “We put the ball in play and made them make the plays. Early on we got a lot of people on and didn’t score. We need to be more aggressive with our at-bats. But we want to take advantage of miscues. Speed kills and we’re going to be doing that all year. I saw a lot of good things today.”

One of those things was the work of his two pitchers — Dyke and Surovec. Dyke went four innings and got the win while Surovec, a freshman, worked the last two innings and allowed only one hit while walking two and striking out two.

“Our plan was for Moreta to give us five innings and get Zoe some work,” Lucas said. “We had a chance to get a lot of gals in the game today. That’s what we wanted to do.”

Nyman, Adrews, Kresovich and Peters had two hits apiece in BEA’s 12-hit attack on Lady Rams starter Emma Kubalak. Cassidy Stover had two of Penns Valley’s five hits.