The win upped the Falcons’ league record to 12-1 (19-3 overall), which meant that they needed to win only one of their two games this week – on Tuesday hosting Deer Valley and Thursday visiting the league’s second-place team, Antioch – to notch another Bay Valley Athletic League championship. The results of those games were not available at press time.
Last year’s Lady Falcons went undefeated in league play (23-4 overall) and came into the NCS championship game on a 12-game win streak in which they outscored their opponents an incredible 77-2. Unfortunately, they ran into a formidable Livermore pitcher in the championship game and fell 0-2, finishing as the NCS runner-up.
The Falcons looked more than ready on May 13 to make another good postseason run and perhaps win the whole enchilada. The game was never in doubt. Freedom took a two-run lead in the first inning and broke it open in the second with another five runs, two of which came on a Jackie Zepeda homer. Lyveana Ilayan did a nice job on the mound, striking out six and giving up four hits.
“I thought our girls did well today,” said Joey Daniels, Freedom’s assistant coach. “They hit well at the beginning of the game. Lyvvy did well.”
Asked how the team’s looking for the playoffs, Daniels said, “I think we are good. We are getting our momentum and getting ready to peak for NCS. So I think we are going to have a good shot. Right now we have strong pitching. Maddy (Williams) is leading us, Lyvvy is a good backup. And we have really good hitting. Everybody is timely hitting right now. (Zepeda) is doing a good job. She pulls through in the clutch whenever we have runners on.”
This year’s team might not be quite the juggernaut of last year, but it’s definitely a powerhouse squad. “I think last year everybody pretty much penciled us going to NCS,” said Manager Jeff Jonas. “There was a lot of pressure on us. We were ranked in the top 10 the whole year nationally. So there was a lot of pressure on the kids to perform. With Hannah (Williams pitching), if you got a run you figured you probably are going to win the game. This year it’s more of a team effort. Everybody’s got to contribute because individually we are not as strong. We don’t have one kid we can just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get on her shoulders and let us ride you.’ This year everybody’s got to do their part. And so far they have been doing a pretty good job of it.”
Last week Jonas didn’t want to count his victories before they’re hatched, but he was definitely optimistic about the postseason. “We are looking forward to it, and let’s see how we do,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people gave us a lot of shot to be ranked where we are right now and maybe even win the league. Now we have put ourselves in the driver’s seat to have an opportunity to do that. So I’m real proud of the kids to do that. Hopefully, we continue and get a couple wins next week and hang another banner up. But right now we’ve just got to worry about doing the little things right. That big stuff, that big idea stuff is past us right now. We can’t worry about that, nor should we.”