The Falcons took control early. Jackie Zepeda drove in Kim Westlund in the bottom of the first inning to give Freedom a 1-0 advantage against sophomore pitcher Lisa Rodrigues. Each of the prior three meetings between the two schools had been close: Heritage won the first match-up and Freedom captured the next two. But this one didn’t stay in question for long.
Freedom pitching phenom Madison Williams improved to 19-1 in the circle as the Falcon lineup provided more than enough run support, detonating a five-run explosion in the bottom of the second inning. The North Coast Section’s dominant softball program over the last decade pounded out six of its 13 hits off Rodrigues in the second frame. The majority of the damage occurred before a single batter was retired, as the Falcons loaded the bases in front of Zepeda and Malena Padilla. Padilla’s RBI double made it 3-0, and Zepeda’s two-bagger put the game away.
By the end of the fourth inning Freedom led 7-0, and Westlund, Padilla, Zepeda and Sarah Osborn had all notched two hits to pace the potent Falcons offense. The victory was Freedom’s 17th consecutive win, improving its overall record to 23-3. It also marked the fourth time in the last five games that the Falcons had scored seven or more runs – a staggering 179 runs through 26 games, a stellar total for a sport usually dominated by pitching.
The victory over Heritage advanced Freedom to its third straight championship game on June 5 at St. Mary’s College, where they faced 24-5 James Logan. The Colts advanced to the championship by virtue of back-to-back victories over league foes American and Newark Memorial.
Heritage, meanwhile, fell to 17-10 to finish the season, after making it to the semifinals via thrilling 1-0 victories over College Park and Antioch.
To find out how Freedom did in the finals, click here.