Freeport tightens race in softball Section 1-3A with win over 1st-place Burrell

Freeport tightens race in softball Section 1-3A with win over 1st-place Burrell
Freeport tightens race in softball Section 1-3A with win over 1st-place Burrell


Nathan Breisinger

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | 9:05 PM

With the Section 1-3A title race heating up down the stretch, Freeport felt it was the perfect time to stir the embers a little more.

As section-leading Burrell made the trip to Freeport Community Park, the Yellowjackets tightened the battle for first after defeating the Bucs, 5-2, on Wednesday.

Freeport did not hesitate, swarming the bases at the bottom of the first inning and putting up four runs to provide enough of a cushion to split the season series with the Bucs.

“The girls were in it, they were excited for it and delivered right out of the gate, and that always makes things a little bit easier,” Freeport coach Ron DeJidas ​​said.

It started with his daughter, as Abby DeJidas ​​led off with a single. Sydney Selker followed with a come-backer up the middle that was too hot for Burrell starting pitcher Shelby Novak to handle.

After a double steal put the two runners in scoring position, younger sister Reese Selker sent a deep fly ball into left field that was snatched by Jenna Morrison as she leaned over the fence. Despite the nice record, DeJidas ​​trotted in from third.

Sophomore Addy Caruso then smoked one through the left side that rolled to the fence as Selker came across to score.

“Our team’s been really working on getting hits and getting runs in through the first few innings,” Caruso said.

With two runs already on the board, Novak recorded two strikeouts before Megan Grolemund hit a ball that sneaked up the middle and through the infield to score two more runs.

Throughout the season, Freeport has found ways to bring runs across the plate in the first inning but not like this.

“That was huge,” DeJidas ​​said. “That’s the first time we’ve actually got multiple runs in the first inning to jump out on somebody in a long time.”

In the fourth inning, after a rundown put Sydney Selker onto third, Caruso singled to center to make the Yellowjackets up 5-0.

The run support was exactly what Selker needed. She tossed a complete game with 14 strikeouts and no earned runs on four hits.

“We knew we were in for a tough one with Sydney pitching,” Burrell coach Dave Ferres said. “We knew a lot of strikeouts would come our way.”

After being shut out in the first four innings, Burrell finally broke through.

Leah Waldsmith led off the fifth by getting hit by a pitch, then a wild pitch led to an errant throw past second and into center field, allowing Waldsmith to go to third.

On the next delivery, Morrison hit a routine ball to third, but a throwing error by Caruso allowed Waldsmith to score. Morrison eventually worked his way to third on another poor throw from Freeport.

A sacrifice bunt by Sophia Gregg brought in Morrison and trimmed the deficit to three.

“If you do put balls in play, they struggle a little bit on defense, and we had to use that to our advantage. That’s when we started putting the ball on the ground, bunting and playing small ball.” Ferres said.

When the bleeding finally came to an end for the Yellowjackets, DeJidas ​​calmed down his defense before they stepped back out on the field.

“When you got a young group, sometimes you go out and you got to slow the game down a little bit, and we did that,” he said.

That message resonated with his players, as evidenced by a smooth, diving play by Abby DeJidas ​​at shortstop to start the sixth inning. She got to her feet and threw to first, where the ball was picked up by first baseman Lauren Clark for the out.

With the defense back in form, Freeport needed one last stop. In the top of the seventh, Burrell loaded the bases with two outs. Braelyn Jones hit the ball down the first-base line, but Clark gloved it as she stepped on first to close the game.

For the second time in the past week, Freeport found a way to avenge previous section losses to Deer Lakes and now Burrell. The Yellowjackets improved to 3-3 in section play, and the Bucs slid to 6-2.

“It makes us ready and hyped for the next few games, and we’re all ready to go out and beat the next team,” Caruso said.

Tags: Burrell, Freeport

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