A-K Valley baseball notebook: Freeport rallies past Highlands for first section win

Thursday, May 6, 2021 | 8:21 PM

The Freeport Yellowjackets haven’t had too many bright spots this season, but at times, coach Ed Carr’s team has shown exactly what it might be capable of in the future.

On Wednesday, the Yellowjackets turned in one of their best performances of the season with a 12-5 victory over Highlands, which is in third place in Section 1-4A.

Behind two-RBI performances from Jackson Smetak and Zach Clark, the Yellowjackets tallied 10 hits, scored nine runs in the fourth inning and added three more between the fifth and sixth to earn their first section win of the season.

“We’re coming together,” Carr said.

Before the coronavirus canceled last season, the Yellowjackets were set to contend for a WPIAL title. With a talented class of seniors highlighted by star pitcher Jarrett Heilman, who is currently playing for Mercyhurst, the Yellowjackets had the potential to do big things. Now, Carr has been relying on a young team, and a few of those young players showed up on Wednesday.

After starter Noah Fryer allowed five runs, none earned, in the first three innings, freshman Matt Corfield came in and pitched 4⅔ innings of shutout ball to secure the victory. He allowed four hits and struck out five while walking none.

Battle at the top

The rain may have changed the dates of their matchups, but Deer Lakes and Valley faced off this week to see who could position themselves better for a section crown.

Behind another stellar complete-game performance from senior pitcher John Luke Bailey, the Vikings took the first game of the Section 3-3A matchup Tuesday. He allowed four hits while striking out eight as the Vikings won 4-1.

The Lancers bounced back Thursday and handed the Vikings their second section loss of the season, 6-4.

Senior Ryan Rodgers appeared in relief for the Lancers on Thursday and allowed one hit in 2⅔ innings to secure the victory. Josh Wachter drove in two runs and Justin Brannagan went 2 for 3 with an RBI.

The Lancers could secure the section title with a win over Ligonier Valley on Saturday and a win over Derry next week. The Trojans sit a game behind Deer Lakes in the section standings, and the teams will face off Monday and Tuesday.

Deer Lakes defeated Ligonier Valley, 13-2, earlier this season.

Home again

Throughout this season, the Plum Mustangs have found themselves living out of their cars. Well, not exactly.

Until this past Saturday, the Mustangs were playing all of their games on the road while the renovations to their new turf field were completed. It forced them to play their first seven section games at their opponent’s field.

The Mustangs christened their new field this past Saturday with a 16-1 victory over Woodland Hills.

“It’s beautiful, we love it, and it’s nice to finally have some home games and actually be able to go into our locker room, get changed and go to practice or go to a game,” Plum coach Carl Vollmer said. “We haven’t done that all year. We’ve been living out of our cars, going to different places every day. But it really is nice to settle down a little bit even though it’s towards the end of the season. You finally appreciate it.”

The Mustangs got another win on their home field Tuesday with a 12-9 come-from-behind victory over Hampton.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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