Turn It Up! Freedom High Softball Is Blasting Confidence After 11-0 Start
When the going gets tough, the Freedom High softball team GETS LOUD!
Really, really loud. L-O-U-D loud.
The noise generated by the Falcons isn’t just the typical dugout chatter. Their April 17 Bay Valley Athletic League opener often approached the volume you’d hear inside a noisy basketball gym.
And the noise at the plate also hit high decibels.
The Falcons emerged with a 10-3 win over Heritage, busting open a tense, tied game with an eight-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth inning. Freedom, ranked 10th nationally and fifth in California by MaxPreps, improved to 10-0 on the season and added an 11th win two days later.
Heritage was 8-3 after rebounding with a win on April 19.
“Heritage was loud when they came in, and it fired up our girls more, so we tried to get louder than them. And it got pretty loud on both sides,” Freedom High Softball coach Brook Russo said.
“That fires you up.
It wasn’t quiet out there, that’s for sure. “
After tying the game with two runs in the fifth, and thwarting a couple Patriots scoring threats, the Falcons sent 13 batters to the plate in a rally that seemingly would never end.
With two runners aboard, Madison Saunders stung one that was stopped by Heritage third baseman Riley Ehlen, but Saunders reached safely to load the bases for Sidney Carmignani.
Carmignani lined one past first base to give the Falcons the lead. After a throwing error produced another Falcons run, Ashlie Livermore bashed her first home run of this season over the right field fence for three more runs.
“Honestly, I just went up there knowing that I had to get a base hit,” Livermore said. “Then I told myself I was going to swing at the next pitch regardless of what it was. And it ended up going over the fence— and it felt great.”
Russo felt confident his No. 2 hitter was going to do something big.
“She’s a good batter, a smart batter at the plate,” Russo said. “Bunt or hit. She’s a good bunter and hitter.”
The win over Heritage continued a roll that the Falcons began in earnest in late March, when they won the Reno tournament. There they beat Nevada power Spanish Springs-Sparks in the championship game.
They won all three Livermore Stampede pool play games and will be in the tournament’s top championship bracket when the rain-delayed event resumes on April 21.
For a program that has eight North Coast Section titles since the school opened in 1996, this season has the looks of something special. Team chemistry is a big reason for that.
“We vibe together well, and we know we just have each other’s back so we don’t have to worry about anything,” Livermore said.
Heritage is expected to be the Falcons’ chief competition in the BVAL this year, and from the start of the game, the Patriots looked every bit the part.
Heritage jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, and the Falcons looked to be in a struggle at home.
The Patriots have dealt the Falcons their only league loss of the year in each of the previous three seasons. They meet again on May 3 at Heritage.
“Heritage is always tough,” said second baseman Sidney Carmignani. “I just kept my head up, and didn’t think anything negative or anything. It was still early in the game and I knew we would be able to come back, and that’s what we did.”
In this meeting, the Patriots were unable to score again against star Falcons pitcher Vanessa Strong after that first inning.
“I knew we were still in good hands,” Russo said. “Because our hitting has been really good. That momentum changed and I knew that these girls had it.
Once we start hitting the ball, we’re unbeatable.”
And when the Falcons are loud — in the dugout and at the plate — they are unbeatable.
“After the first inning, it was kind of hard,” Livermore said. “We kind of got down, but we knew that we couldn’t let them know that we were down. So we just kept screaming and finally it caught up to us during the sixth inning and we scored a lot of runs.”