Freeport softball comes through in clutch in win over Burrell

Friday, April 16, 2021 | 8:40 PM

Friday’s windy, chilly weather that featured spots of rain at Freeport Community Park seemed to include everything but lightning.

It was Freeport that provided the lightning – two-out lightning in particular.

The Yellowjackets scored seven of their eight runs after two were out and Freeport held on to defeat Burrell, 8-6, in a Section 1-4A contest.

Emily Schmidt and Autumn Powell slammed two-run homers and freshman right-hander Sydney Selker got big outs when she needed it the most as Freeport advanced to 2-1 in section play, 3-3 overall.

“We made enough plays today, and that’s all that counts,” said Yellowjackets coach Sam Ross. “I’ve noticed that they’ve come through this year with two outs. This was a good win for us.”

Schmidt’s blast to left field gave Freeport a quick 2-0 lead, but Burrell erupted for four runs in the top of the third as Gabby Britton and Liz Clark each came through with two-run singles.

Freeport, however, answered with a four-spot of its own in the bottom of the fourth. Jenna Selker and Aimee Heasley brought home runs with singles before Savanna Urik was out at home trying to score after an errant pitch.

Powell, the designated player after suffering an ankle injury earlier in the week, didn’t have to worry about running after her drive over the right-centerfield fence put the Yellowjackets in front, 8-5.

But Freeport-Burrell games seemed to go down to the wire, and Friday was no different. Rikki Wyble led off the seventh with a single and came around to score on Britton’s double. Britton took third on a bad throw, but she was retired on a fielder’s choice when third baseman Abby DeJidas came home with Katie Armstrong’s grounder.

Armstrong was thrown out trying to take second on an errant pitch. Sydney Selker, who wears No. 87, ended the game catching Clark’s pop foul in front of the Freeport dugout.

Despite the loss, Burrell coach Rick Nealer was upbeat about his team’s performance.

“I am so happy with the progress of these kids,” the first-year coach said. “They’re coming along and playing some solid softball.”

After Powell’s home run, pitcher Kylie Karns settled down and retired the last seven batters she faced to keep the Bucs in the game.

“Kylie did a great job for us,” Nealer said. “She missed a couple pitches and they took advantage, and they’re great hitters. You can’t miss on pitches with them because they’ll make you pay.”

Karns struck out Maya Borgohl on a low 3-2 changeup to end the second inning with two runners on.

A key juncture of the game came when Burrell was threatening in the fifth. Ross ordered an intentional walk to Clark that loaded the bases with one out. But Selker struck out Caroline Dynka, and Amber Bigler hit a drive to deep left field. Urik initially turned the wrong way but recovered quickly to make the catch near the fence.

Ross wants to see his team improve on its four errors.

Said Ross: “We need to fix the errors and fix some things, defensively. Beyond that, you’ve got to go out and play every game. We also have to work on pitch identification on offense.”

Burrell dropped to 2-2 in the section, 3-4 overall.

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