Gem by Mohawk ace Reagan Magno leaves Freeport shaking off playoff loss

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Thursday, May 16, 2024 | 9:53 PM


Freeport’s 2-1 loss to Mohawk on Thursday night in the WPIAL Class 3A softball quarterfinals appeared to unfold as a disappointment that should have been difficult for any high school athlete to handle.

After all, the game ended the careers of Freeport seniors Sydney Selker, Megan Grolemund and Abby DeJidas and wasn’t decided until Mohawk scored an unearned run on a wild pitch to snap a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning.

But there was Freeport coach Ron DeJidas after the game — his players gathered around him in shallow left field at Seneca Valley’s field — making everyone laugh.

“My message to the girls was they accomplished what we wanted to accomplish,” said DeJidas, whose team reached the playoffs for the 13th time in the past 14 seasons. “Our goal every single time this year was to get better. They stepped on the field (Thursday), and they got better.

“One team at this time of year gets to win its last game. Unfortunately, that wasn’t us and unfortunately our last one had to be (Thursday). To lose a 2-1 game, you have nothing to be sad about, nothing to put (your) head down about.”

Coach DeJidas chose to focus on his players and their attitudes, rather than a result that could have swung in either direction.

“It’s just how tight the girls are,” he said of the laughter after the game. “They’re just a really great group of girls. You can tell. They love being around each other. They enjoy it. I love being around them just as much as they enjoy being around each other.”

No. 4-seeded Mohawk (16-5) advanced to face top-seeded Avonworth (14-3) — a 4-0 winner over No. 9 Yough on Thursday — in the semifinals at a date, time and site to be announced. Mohawk scored first and last against 12th-seeded Freeport.

In the third inning, Aricka Young tripled and scored on a wild pitch. Two more wild pitches by Selker chased across the decisive run in the bottom of the sixth after Alivia Hare singled and stole second base.

“That just happens sometimes,” DeJidas said of the wild pitches. “She really spins the ball when she’s throwing it. She’s not just throwing it. Sometimes, that spin just gets away from her a little bit.”

Selker, an Akron recruit, struck out five, giving her 514 for her career.

The outcome could have been worse, but Freeport threw out three baserunners, including two at home plate. DeJidas said those plays epitomized his players’ teamwork, something that has impressed him all season about a group made up only of freshmen, sophomores and three seniors.

“Meg, helping the younger outfielders,” he said. “You saw the leadership come through with some of the plays that were made. The throws came in. They knew where to go because Meg was out there directing them (in center field).

“Those were plays that could have made the game go either way. We had a chance for the game to go our way. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.”

Mohawk pitcher Reagan Magno struck out 12 and allowed only four hits. After Freeport sophomore Addy Caruso lofted her fourth home run of the season and Lauren Clark doubled in the fourth inning, Magno retired 10 of the last 11 Freeport batters. The only exception was when she pitched carefully to Selker and walked her for the second time.

Seven of the last 10 Freeport outs came on strikeouts.

“She had a nice drop ball working,” Mohawk coach Hank Pezzuolo said. “Reagan was on today.

“I did (expect a low-scoring game) because I know that group very well. We knew Sydney threw hard. We got to her fastball and she started working that changeup. She’s a great pitcher, did a great job.”

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