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Another offensive spurt leads Freeport softball over rival Deer Lakes

April 16, 2018

The Freeport softball team again used a late-game outburst to capture a Section 1-3A victory.

The Yellowjackets, who scored six runs in the sixth inning Tuesday to rally past South Allegheny, tallied eight in the top of the seventh to overcome a six-run deficit to win at Burrell on Wednesday.

On Friday, Freeport put six on the board in the bottom of the sixth against rival Deer Lakes. It broke a 4-4 tie, and the Yellowjackets came away from Freeport Community Park with a 10-4 victory.

“The rivalry between us and Deer Lakes is amazing in every sport, not just softball,” said Emily Schmidt, who delivered a two-run single with no outs and the bases loaded in the decisive inning to give Freeport the lead at 6-4. “It was a hard-fought game, and it feels great to get the win.”

Schmidt finished 3 for 3 with four RBIs as the Yellowjackets recorded 15 hits.

Ashleigh Schmidt singled in two runs in the sixth for Freeport, and Maya Borghol walked with the bases loaded. The sixth run scored on a fielding error.

“The girls never quit, just like Tuesday and Wednesday’s games,” Yellowjackets coach Sam Ross said. “We got some big hits in that inning.”

The Freeport players, Ross said, shook off a little bit of frustation from the first five innings when they stranded nine runners. They left the bases loaded in the fourth, and a double play wiped out a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the second. The Yellowjackets also had a runner at third with one out in the third but couldn’t get her home.

Freeport and Deer Lakes played four games in as many days this week. The Yellowjackets added a 9-3 win over Valley on Thursday and lead the section at 4-0 with a 5-0 overall mark.

“All winter, and at every practice, we do conditioning to be ready for situations late in games,” Ross said. “With the fourth game in a row, they were pretty tired. I think both teams were, but they were still playing and battling hard. That’s what it’s all about when these teams play.”

Deer Lakes went 1-3 this week with additional losses to section foes Burrell and South Allegheny and a victory in section against East Allegheny. The Lancers are 2-3 overall.

“We’ve struggled to put seven innings together,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “We just have to figure out how to get through that one inning and cut down on mistakes. I know it probably didn’t look like it with the final score, but it’s one of the best games they’ve played so far this year. The girls are more confident. We saw some things we knew we were capable of but hadn’t shown yet.”

Ashleigh Schmidt and Tori Radvan also helped the Freeport cause with three hits apiece.

Borghol hit a solo home run to lead of the bottom of the second, and Radvan added a run-scoring single as Freeport led 4-2 heading to the third.

Radvan and Ashleigh Schmidt shared time in the pitching circle for the Yellowjackets.

Radvan, who has been battling hamstring issues, started and worked into the fifth. She gave up seven hits and one walk while striking out five.

Schmidt came on and surrendered one hit and one walk with two strikeouts. She compiled a 4-0 record this week as the pitcher of record in relief for Friday’s win as well as the victories over South Allegheny and Burrell. She started against Valley and went the distance.

“I told Tori that when she felt it was over to give me a nod,” Ross said. “She pitched well. Ashleigh came in and gave (the Deer Lakes) hitters a little different look with more off-speed stuff.”

Makayla Blair paced the Deer Lakes offense with three hits and two RBIs. Her solo home run in the top of the fourth tied the game at four. One inning earlier, Katelynn Blair reached on an error and scored on a double by Casey Buechel to trim the Freeport advantage to 4-3.

“Before the season, I said we were a work in progress, and I meant that,” Taliani said. “We have girls in a lot of new roles. We’re working on getting better. Now, we could use a little practice time on a real field to work some things out.”

Deer Lakes is back at it Monday with a nonsection home game against Shaler before visiting Valley in section action Tuesday.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com.