Freeport softball team has designs on keeping up its playoff streak

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | 4:55 PM

Freeport softball has been in the playoffs 12 consecutive times, and with an experienced core returning along with younger talent, it will look to continue the streak.

“We’ve made playoffs every year that I’ve been here, which is a pretty good accomplishment, and that’s a credit to the girls and the coaches I’ve had through the years,” Freeport coach Sam Ross said. “We’ve been pretty consistent at finishing near the top, so, hopefully that keeps up.

“As every season starts though we keep the mentality of one game at a time and not look too far ahead.”

The Yellowjackets have made the postseason every year since 2009, minus the 2020 season that was cancelled because ofcovid-19. They were 12-7 last year, 6-4 in Section 1-4A and lost 3-2 to Yough in the first round of the playoffs.

Five seniors return: Natalie King, Autumn Powell, Jenna Selker, Maddie Shanta and Savannah Urik. Only two starters, Emily Schmidt and Maya Borghol, graduated.

Powell hit .459 last year with two doubles and three homers. King batted .438 with a pair of home runs.

“It’s always good to have seniors that have done well,” Ross said. “Natalie King, Autumn Powell and Jenna Selker started when they were freshman. It’s good to have that experience on the team in the positions they play.”

Powell and Sydney Selker, Jenna’s younger sister, will pitch. Both will get innings in the early going to see who gets the ball once section play starts.

Sydney Selker is coming off a fantastic freshman season in which she led the team in batting average (.483) and home runs (7). She is among the underclassmen who will be key this spring along with junior Aimee Heasley and sophomores Abby DeJidas, Hannah Shepherd and Megan Grolemund.

DeJidas is the younger sister of former Freeport standout Ally DeJidas, who is now at Mercyhurst.

“Aimee started at second base last year, and she’s done really well for us,” Ross said. “She can play multiple positions. She’s played every position for us in the infield except first basem and she’s our backup catcher. Abby DeJidas is cut right out of the mold of her sister. She’ll secure one of the infield positions and she’s a great bat. We also have Megan Grolemund, who lettered as a runner last year. She’ll play an outfield spot for us and is a left-handed batter.”

Freeport will have about a dozen girls on the roster. Having a smaller number is not something new to Freeport. They’ve carried a dozen or slightly more in past seasons.

“With a smaller number, everybody gets more reps at their position, and we can do a lot of individual work,” Ross said. “It’s OK. We had a nice offseason with conditioning and fundamentals. We had good attendance. It’s a nice, steady group and they should be just fine.”

Freeport will spend one final season in Section 1-4A before dropping down to Class 3A in 2023. Highlands, which made the WPIAL final last year, Knoch, McKeesport, Burrell and Greensburg Salem are also in the section.

“We enjoyed playing in that section last year,” Ross said. “It was nice to see Highlands get to the finals and represent the section. It’s a good section. With Burrell moving up with us, we’ve played them forever. Knoch is our neighbor. It’s a fun section.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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