Freeman’s homer helps lift USA Central past Southwest

Date Published: 
August 7, 2014

Coastal Point • Shaun Lambert : USA Central’s Morgan Swift fires a pitch home against USA Southwest during their Big League Softball World Series game.Coastal Point • Shaun Lambert : USA Central’s Morgan Swift fires a pitch home against USA Southwest during their Big League Softball World Series game.USA Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) set the tone early in Monday’s Big League Softball World Series matchup against USA Southwest (Calhoun, La.) with a first-inning home run by shortstop Danielle Freeman giving Central the early lead in what would be a tight game.

Freeman went to the yard with two strikes in the count after pulling multiple pitches foul to the left.

“I was just thinking, ‘Stay back and just look for that pitch.’ I was just doing what I normally do, just wait on it and drive it,” Freeman said of the first-inning homer.

“She’s been a leader for us. She’s already got a championship under her belt,” added Central manager Jeff Edgerle. “We’ve leaned on her at times. We came out offensively. We needed a big shot. We got a home run from her in the first inning that set the tone.”

Aggressive infielding kept Southwest off the board, but the scoring started up again in the bottom of the third, after Central’s Haylie Houck loaded the bases. First-baseman Brit McClain dropped a shot into right field for an RBI-single that scored two runners, to make it 3-0 after that. But a sliding catch in left field by Sierra Gasca helped Southwest get out of the inning with no additional damage done.

“Normally, when we’re getting three runs, we don’t lose a ball game,” said Edgerle of his team after commending the leadership and performance from starting pitcher Morgan Swift.

Southwest brought in Lacey Hill to pitch in relief after Central’s third-inning rally, and Hill notched six strikeouts — including a key strikeout in the bottom of the fifth, to get her team out of the inning with two Central runners threatening. Hill would give up no runs while in the circle.

Southwest recorded their only run of the game in the top of the fourth inning, off an RBI-double from Rebecca Skains that made it 3-1, which would end up the game’s final score.

Swift struck out six batters and only gave up two hits in a complete-game effort.

The District 9 Little League All-Stars have won five titles since the series was held in Kalamazoo, Mich., before its move to Roxana, but Edgerle said his team was taking it not only one game at a time, but one pitch at a time, after the win.

“We’re going one pitch at a time. We know we gotta go each game at a time,” he said. “We’d like to win our next game. We’d like to get on ESPN. We want to win the whole thing, too. We’re gonna take them in strides, take them in steps, but we do have ultimate goals and then we have short-term goals — we talk about those a lot.”