Freeport pulls away late for first-round victory
Freeport junior pitcher Alyssa Meta hesitated to talk about the play after the game because it still agitated her.
Meta was angry with herself after her throwing error to first base with two outs in the bottom of the fifth helped Keystone Oaks score twice and cut the Yellowjackets' lead to one run.
But in the top of the sixth, Meta made up for her miscue by hitting a two-run single past the second baseman, and the Yellowjackets pulled away from Keystone Oaks for an 11-6 win Tuesday in a WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game at Hampton Community Park.
“I got out of the hole I dug myself,” Meta said. “It was so frustrating, but I came back.”
Meta's single turned out to be the turning point in a contest in which the teams combined for 24 hits and seven errors.
No. 9-seeded Freeport (15-3) advanced to play No. 1 Neshannock (18-0) in the quarterfinals at a time and site to be determined.
No. 8 Keystone Oaks (13-5) was eliminated.
Keystone Oaks cut Freeport's lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Yellowjackets tallied three runs in the top of the sixth and three more in the top of the seventh.
“It's always important to answer right away after they score,” Freeport coach Sam Ross said. “Alyssa is our No. 2 batter, and because she's small, they probably think she's slapping the ball or bunting. But she has a lot of power. I don't hesitate to turn her loose.”
The 5-foot Meta was 4 for 5 with a double and three RBI. The left-hander surrendered eight hits and two walks, hit a batter, and struck out three.
Ashley Sample was 3 for 4 with three RBI, and Taylor Massart also drove in three runs for the Yellowjackets.
Freeport's rally in the top of the sixth started with two walks.
“That inning was obviously very important,” Keystone Oaks coach Mark Kaminski said. “They got a couple of walks and were able to turn their lineup over (to the top of the batting order). They're good hitters, and they were putting everything in play.”
Despite the loss, Kaminski praised junior pitcher Kiersten Badzgon. He said she was converted from shortstop to pitcher at the beginning of the season after the Golden Eagles' top pitcher transferred and another pitcher was ruled academically ineligible.
Badzgon was 2 for 2 with an RBI and also reached base twice on errors.
“She filled in miraculously (at pitcher) this year,” Kaminski said. “She's a great athlete who was forced to pitch. She's the best athlete in our section regardless.”
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-226-2696.