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Freeman, Toman reach milestones

There is no shortage of things to celebrate for the Northwestern Lehigh softball team. Not only did the Lady Tigers beat Wilson 14-7 Friday to stay undefeated in Colonial League play, but recently, pitcher Emma Freeman recorded her 200th strikeout and Sage Toman reached the 100-hit plateau for their careers.

Freeman, a sophomore, is the ace of the Tiger pitching staff but was moved from the circle to center field for Friday night’s win.

Northwestern head coach Kate Farber went with another sophomore, Lizzy Diehl, to get the start against Wilson. It was the third start of the season for Diehl, who pitched 3 2/3 innings in the game before Freeman moved back to her usual spot in the circle to finish off the Warriors.

While Diehl gave up seven runs, only two were earned and she struck out five batters in the outing. When Freeman came on, Wilson had just pushed its seventh run across the plate on a triple by Aerynne Mays. Freeman got the final out of the inning and then finished the game holding the Warriors to just two hits while collecting five strikeouts.

Ella Bressi, Izzy Akelaitis and Abby Dunstan all collected three hits in the win, while Freeman and Shelby Mitman both collected a pair of hits. Freeman delivered a two-run double in a six-run first inning for the Tigers and finished with a pair of runs scored. Akelaitis doubled and singled twice to drive in two runs and scored three times in the game, as did Mitman, who was hit by a pitch and had a pair of singles to right in Northwestern’s win.

Toman was on base four times with a single, walk, hit by pitch and a fielder’s choice, scoring two runs in the game. Reaching the hit milestone came as a relief to the Northwestern senior.

“It was definitely nice, that’s for sure,” said Toman. “It was also a big relief because I have been focused on it for a long time. I really wanted to hit it because it was a very big goal for me and now that I hit it, it just makes hitting 10 times easier.”

Farber coached seven seasons at Northern Lehigh and had to face Toman in three of those seasons. Now, she gets to take the view from the other dugout and has Toman on her side.

“I hated coaching against Sage,” said Farber, “and I told her this, because whenever she was up to bat I figured 99.9 percent of the time she was at least going to put the ball in play and a lot of those were hits, so I hated coaching against her. Now that I am her coach, I love it and the same thing applies, I figure that 99.9 percent of the time when she is in the batter’s box, she is going to put the ball in play, shake things up and force the defense to make a play.”

As for Freeman’s accomplishment, Farber was equally impressed.

“She has such great poise on the mound and it’s going to be fun to watch her keep developing because I think that she can become an even better pitcher than she is now,” said Farber. “She is another one that I am glad to be coaching rather than having to send my team out against her.”

Even with their impressive team record, the Tigers are guarding against complacency and know that they will eventually be in a situation where one loss could be the difference between a great season and a good season.

The team has collected a lot of silver medals over the past few seasons and want nothing short of gold medals in both the league and district playoffs.

“There are teams that could beat us, and we have to make sure that we’re on our game every game and make sure that we beat them,” said Toman. “We feel like this is our year and we want gold all around, but in the playoffs, everybody is looking to get gold and we have to keep playing well if we want to be the one standing at the end.”

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Sage Toman recently got the 100th hit of her varsity softball career.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Emma Freeman recently recorded the 200th strike out of her varsity softball pitching career.