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LHS gets quick start

The Liberty Hurricanes softball team got their wish and then some in their 7-4 District XI Class 6A championship victory over city rival Freedom on May 30 at Patriots Park in Allentown.

“I had said to Freedom, when we played them the first game, I said let’s get separate brackets and let’s meet in the final, so I was so happy that it happened,” said Liberty coach Sam Carrodo.

Despite the friendly gesture, the Hurricanes weren’t leaving Pates Park without district gold.

“We couldn’t wait to get here and get this thing done,” Carrodo said. “We had beaten Freedom twice, but that doesn’t mean anything. Powerful hitters, great-coached team, but our expectation was we weren’t gonna come here to lose.”

A five-run first was a good start.

Leadoff batter Addy Smith reached first base on an error, Addison Sabo knocked a single between first and second base, Ariana Castillo walked, and Leah Onia belted a 2 RBI single to put the Hurricanes on the scoreboard.

“I just wanted to try and get the ball to the outfield in some sort of way and score a run. It felt like a solid hit,” said Onia. “This was our third time seeing (Freedom pitcher) Alexis Acevedo. She’s a great pitcher. It’s such a competitive game whenever we play Freedom, especially in the district championship. Battle of Bethlehem as we like to say, so we kind of knew how she threw and what she threw. From last season, losing in the first round of districts and in (this year’s) EPCs to winning districts, it’s an amazing feeling and such a great honor to play with these girls.”

Ann Marie Stella, Ella Quayle, and Sam Kurinovich also had base hits in the first inning.

Freedom scored its first run in the top of the third when Hannah Heidemann singled to left, Madison Glick singled to right, and Heidemann scored when Brooke Rummel reached first base on an error.

Acevedo retired the side in order in the bottom of the third with a strike out and two ground outs, and Smith forced three straight ground outs in the top of the fifth.

LHS scored two more runs on RBIs from Castillo and Quayle, and Mckenna Beck smashed a double in the gap between right and center.

“Madison Glick is a very good shortstop, and I was very worried she was gonna make that play, but I’m glad she didn’t because we got a run off that,” said Castillo. “Our goal was to win every inning. We knew we had to come out on fire because it was proved in the Freedom-Nazareth game in the semifinal that they can come back at any given moment, so we had to jump on them and get so many runs, not only to back us up, but to back up Addy Smith in the circle. It worked out perfectly, the way we won it and the team we played.”

Freedom’s Landry Guman scored the Patriots’ second run on Kate Miller’s sacrifice fly after Guman’s double bounced into the outfield just inside the third base line.

The Pates attempted a comeback in the seventh inning with Payton Besecker’s leadoff single over first base, and Maia D’Amico was safe at first on a fielder’s choice. Heidemann’s hit to center and Rummel’s 2 RBI single to right made the score 7-4, but a pop out to Stella at second base ended the game.

“This bunch of girls came from a 3-17 season, and this program rebuilt itself,” said Carrodo. “We have the right coaches, the players bought in to everything we were doing, worked their butts off, and this is what happens.”

Both teams clinched a berth in state playoffs, which will have begun on June 3.

Press photos by Linda Rothrock The Liberty girls softball team poses with their championship sign and trophy after knocking off Freedom in the finals last week.
Liberty players raise the trophy following their victory over Freedom.
The Liberty softball team celebrates after the final out.
Liberty players Ariana Castillo, Samantha Kurinovich and Madison Noll pose with the District 11 trophy.
Ann Marie Stella checks out the reaction of teammate Adelynn Smith, right, after receiving their District 11 gold medals.
The Liberty boys baseball team, fresh off their own District 11 championship, show up just in time to watch the girls last week.
Liberty Ann Marie Stella, right, celebrates with teammate Adelynn Smith as Freedom catcher Payton Besecker holds the ball.
Addison Sabo makes a catch near the fence as teammate Eloriana Quayle backs up the play.
Liberty's Leah Onia connects on a pitch during the District 11 title game at Pates Parkl last week.
Liberty's Eloriana Quayle is all smiles after receiving her gold medal.
The Liberty baseball and softball teams pose together after winning District 11 titles on the same night, May 30, just hours a part.
Members of Liberty's softball team celebrate after the final out.
The girls were excited to raise the District 11 sign.