Freedom stuns South
A late South Caldwell rally fell short as the Freedom High School Patriots went into Sawmills and upset the then-undefeated Spartans 4-3 on Wednesday night.
“We didn’t do a very good job of adjusting to the high pitches,” South Caldwell head coach Casey Justice said. “We were consistently swinging at high pitches and that was due to a lack of focus.
“You can’t not hit the ball for five innings and expect to win. The effort is there. It’s just the mental stuff that hurt us tonight.”
With the loss, South Caldwell is now 10-1 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference, tied for first place with St. Stephens. The Spartans travel to St. Stephens tonight in hopes of re-claiming sole possession of first place.
“St. Stephens is a very good team,” said Justice. “But I’m confident that we’ll come out tomorrow night and play better than we did tonight. We’ll be ready to go.”
Freedom scored all four of its runs in the first inning. Micayla Kelly hit a leadoff single and Lauren Maynor reached on an error. Morgan Smith followed with a three-run blast over the right field wall. Still with no outs in the inning, Rebecca Epley drew a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Micayla Queen. After a double by Tabby Pearson, Taylor Cannon hit an RBI single to score Epley, prompting a pitching change for the Spartans.
Madison Bumgarner came in on relief with two runners on and just one out. She managed to get out of the inning without allowing any further damage. Bumgarner didn’t give up another hit until the fifth inning. She allowed just three hits and struck out seven.
The Spartans got on the board in the bottom of the first. Makayla Carver had three hits on the day, including a leadoff single to get things going in the first. She then moved all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt by Lainey Triplett. Carver came in to score on an RBI ground out by Bumgarner to make the score 4-1.
South Caldwell cut the deficit to two in the fourth inning. Bumgarner singled and moved to second on an error. Two batters later, Taylor Dotson hit an RBI double to score Bumgarner.
The Spartans trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh. That was until Breanna Hagerty hit a solo home run off the foul pole in left field to pull the Spartans within one with no outs. Later in the inning, Sierra Bumgarner hit a two-out single to bring the winning-run to the plate in Carver. Olivia Spencer came in to pinch run for Bumgarner. Carver then hit a deep fly that rolled all the way to the fence. Spencer rounded third to score, however, Carver was tagged out just before Spencer could cross the plate to give Freedom the victory.
South Caldwell will play St. Stephens tonight in a battle for first place in the conference.