STEPHENVILLE – Even the term ‘ace’ was an understatement for what Haley Freyman did as the junior right-hander kept the nation’s No. 1 team off the board for 14 consecutive innings in Friday’s doubleheader sweep of Angelo State and the school’s first-ever series win over the Rambelles and a team ranked No. 1 in the nation.
“I’m not really sure which word to use – phenomenal, terrific, excellent, dominant – because Haley was all of those things tonight,” said head coach Mark Cumpian. “Haley has been huge for us since the day she stepped on campus. She’s pitched in a lot of big games in her career and tonight is just two more on that list. Megan Durante had a big night at the plate for us and, overall as a team, I thought we played really good defense and played with great intent. How we need to come out tomorrow with the same focus.”
Prior to Friday, the highest-ranked team that Tarleton has taken a series from was No. 2 West Texas A&M when the TexAnns swept the Lady Buffs in 2012 in Stephenville. It’s also Tarleton’s first-ever series win over Angelo State since the Rambelle program started in 2002.
The TexAnns’ last win against the No. 1 team in the nation was also against Angelo State when Tarleton won the last game of a three-game series 4-3 over the Rambelles on March 26, 2011.
Game 1: Tarleton 2, No. 1 Angelo State 0
Freyman’s big night started in the opener with a seven-single, shutout performance to give Tarleton its sixth win of the season against a nationally-ranked opponent.
The Tarleton right-hander had to do some early dancing as Angelo had a single in the first and a one-out single followed by back-to-back stolen bases in the second to set up a runner on third with one away. Freyman answered in the call with back-to-back strikeouts to escape trouble.
The pitcher’s duel between Freyman and Angelo’s Brandy Marlett stayed scoreless into the bottom of the fifth when Tarleton broke through on a two-out, RBI single into right field by Avery Mullendore to put Tarleton on top. After another shutdown inning by Freyman, Tarleton tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Megan Durante singled into right field to score Kaitlyn Thomas from second with two away.
Freyman sat down the Rambelles in order in the seventh to cap off her 59th career win at Tarleton. She allowed seven hits, all singles, in seven innings while striking out five.
Durante led the offense with two hits and an RBI while Mullendore and Mikayla Stogsdill each had one hit.
Game 2: Tarleton 4, No. 1 Angelo State 0
Freyman continued to deal with seven more innings of shutout ball to secure the doubleheader sweep and notch the 60th win of her Tarleton career, joining Carla Geeslin (62) as the only two TexAnns to win at least 60 games for the purple and white.
After a two-out double and walk in the first inning, Freyman settled into a nice groove as she escaped the first inning with a flyout and then went on to sit down the next 10 consecutive Rambelle hitters heading into the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, her offense supplied her with two early runs when three errors and an RBI single from Stogsdill plated two runs for a 2-0 lead in the second.
Freyman danced out of danger in the fifth when Angelo State threatened with back-to-back one out singles, but the junior right-hander got a swinging strikeout and a groundball to Mullendore at short to keep the Rambelles off the board once again.
Her offense came to her aid with two more runs of support in the ensuing half-inning when Meghann Wrinkle led off with a triple into right field. Nyka Wood drove her home with an RBI single through the left side. Wood gave way to pinch runner Morgan Ling, who was bunted over by Stech and then driven home on an RBI double by Durante with her team-leading 10-game hitting streak.
Over the last two innings, only a controversial single in the sixth and a two-out double in the seventh was hit off Freyman and the Tarleton pitcher notched win No. 14 of the season and No. 60 in her career.
Stogsdill led the way with a two-hit effort while Wrinkle, Wood, Durante, and Flores each had one for the game.
Tarleton and Angelo State will resume the series for one final game tomorrow at 1 p.m., weather permitting, in Stephenville.
Stay tuned to Vision Fastpitch for all the latest softball news.
The 11-6A softball race was expected to be competitive and it has been as advertised.
As they head into the second half of the district season, five teams have winning records, which sets the stage for a dramatic next few weeks.
Here is a look at the stretch run:
North Mesquite (4-3 in 11-6A, 11-10)
A big reason the Stallions are in this position is their wins over their crosstown rivals, as they posted 12-11 victories over both Horn and Mesquite. Outside of its loss to Longview, North Mesquite has been in every game, including tough setbacks to district co-leaders Rockwall-and Rockwall-Heath.
Brittany Thomas has shouldered the load on the mound, posting a 2.47 ERA with 112 strikeouts in 79.1 innings.
Thomas is also one of the team’s best hitters, posting a .471 batting average with three triples.
Freshman Haleigh Mitchell has made an immediate impact, hitting .475 with eight doubles and 15 RBIs, while Alyssia Burley (.415, 5 doubles, 15 runs, 16 RBIs), Lauren Jenkins (.400, 2 home runs, 15 RBIs), Caressa Smith (.435), Desteny Ponciano (.364) and Avery Valdez (.310) have also shined at the plate.
Key Game: vs. Horn (Apr. 13)
Horn (4-3, 10-11)
The Jaguars are just a play or two from being higher in the standings. After winning their first three district games, they suffered close losses to Rockwall (15-13) and North Mesquite (12-11).
Addi Burke is the key cog, at the plate from her lead-off spot, on defense at shortstop and with senior leadership.
Following Burke in the lineup, the Jaguars are solid with Olivia Mueller, Taylor Thompson, Meagan Youngman, Leah Deaver and Tabitha Borden, while others, such as Laci Baker, Alyssa Spoerl and Maci Malcom, are also capable hitters.
Spoerl, last year’s freshman of the year, has been one of the top pitchers in the district for the second straight season.
Key Game: vs. Horn (Apr. 13)
Mesquite (2-5, 8-12)
The Skeeters dropped a pair of close games against crosstown rivals (12-11 to North Mesquite and 9-5 to Horn), bounced back with a pair of wins, but have since lost three in a row, all by eight runs or more.
Kailey Anderson, a Louisiana Tech signee, and Sara Bailey set the table at the top of the order for Rebecca Taylor, who is also the Skeeters’ primary pitcher, Samantha Castorena, Destiny Martinez and Jazmin Elias.
The bottom of the lineup, with Caitlyn Little, Madison Hays and Caitlin Giles, has also delivered in some big moments.
This is a big week for the Skeeters in their second go-around against the Stallions and Jaguars. If they can avenge those setbacks, they will be right back in the playoff race. A pair of losses, however, could potentially end their hopes.
Key Game: vs. North Mesquite (Fri.)
Rockwall-Heath (6-1, 15-5)
The Hawks were rolling right along for most of the district season. Cami Duffey, who won district pitcher of the year last season and is the prime candidate to repeat that honor, allowed just one run in the first five games, including a 3-0 victory over rival Rockwall.
Rockwall-Heath suffered a hiccup when a series of errors led to a 4-2 loss to Longview before they bounced back on Tuesday with a win over Horn.
With Duffey and the defense holding district opponents to 1.2 runs per game, the offense is scoring nearly 10 runs per contest.
The lineup features seasoned players in Jordan Strange, Emily Clark, Madison Leggett, Abigail Renteria and Duffey, and they have gotten immediate contributions from freshmen Tristin Court, Trinity Cannon and Abby Woloss.
Key Game: at Longview (Apr. 18)
Rockwall (6-1, 13-11-1)
Since their shutout loss to Rockwall-Heath, the Yellowjackets have averaged 14.4 runs during their five-game winning streak.
Rockwall has flexed its muscle in the lineup from top to bottom with Reagan Swindell, Erica Speer, Sam Bean, Cassie Lawrence, Cassie Lawrence, Darryn Welbon and Lexi Coward.
Many teams rely on just one pitcher, but Rockwall has a number of arms they can turn to, as Hannah Frank, Paige Harris, Speer and Coward have all logged innings on the mound.
Key Game: at Rockwall-Heath (Tues.)
Longview (5-2, 15-8)
The Lobos got off to a quiet start to the 11-6A season, with losses to Horn and Rockwall sandwiched around a narrow 2-0 win over Lee.
They have been on a roll ever since, outscoring opponents 50-3 during their four-game winning streak, highlighted by a 4-2 victory over Rockwall-Heath.
Freshman Kennedy Cameron has posted a stellar 1.01 ERA while averaging better than one strikeout per inning.
The Lobo offense featured a number of players hitting .400 or better, including Brooke Goynes (.558), Jordan McClain (.510), Alex Johnson, Chandler Peoples, Kerris Cameron and Kennedy Cameron.
Key Game: at Rockwall (Apr. 7)
Tyler Lee (1-6, 5-17)
The Red Raiders had a couple of close calls before breaking through with a 17-1 win over Tyler John Tyler on Tuesday, but they are still in need of a larger turnaround if they hope to get back into contention.
Pitcher Chelsea Robinson has been strong in recent outings and an offense that includes Robinson, Kambree Yates, Cameron Attaway, Haley Brown and Victoria Sanchez is hoping to build on its big performance against the Lions.
Key Game: vs. Horn (Apr. 7)
Tyler John Tyler (0-7, 0-13)
A small positive in a season that has lacked them is that the Lions have scored in each of the last two games. The bad news is they have still lost every district game by 15 runs or more.
Mansfield’s Morgan Rios, left, has caught for varsity all four years of high school.
You don’t build a successful high school softball program with hit-and-miss leadership. A good program develops the leadership each and every year so that a culture perpetuates the success.
For Mansfield, there’s no hit-and-miss leadership. In fact, it’s more like hit-and-hit … and hit-and-hit.
Many of the reasons why Mansfield’s head coach Jennifer Haltom is able to put quality teams on the field the last few years are now seniors.
Morgan Rios has been behind the plate for four years now, while fellow seniors Kaitlin Richards (first base), Sarah Reinke (shortstop) and Resheda Townsend (third base) have been starters since their sophomore years.
“All four are tops in most offensive categories and they anchor my infield,” Haltom said.
Indeed, the four seniors take great pride in their ability to hit the ball.
In the last eight games leading up to its Friday game with Arlington Martin, Mansfield had averaged 8.9 runs per game.
Townsend had already registered five homeruns before the Friday game.
“We’re really good as a whole team,” Townsend said of the Lady Tigers’ hitting.
And offense figures into what it will take for the Lady Tigers to get back to the playoffs and at least match their third-round appearance.
“As long as we hit,” Townsend explained as to what the key will be. “If you score more than they do, you win the game.”
The pressure may be on the quartet’s hitting more than on their leadership skills.
All four noted that the responsibilities for leading the team have come easier as their time on the squad increased.
They also attribute the tradition and the skill set of those who came before them as reasons why the Mansfield program has remained strong.
“There have been great leaders before us,” Reinke said.
“I think coming in as a freshman and even my sophomore year, there were a lot of seniors who have set an amazing example and they want you to be up there, too,” Richards said. “They taught to work hard and never give up.”
Rios had an inspiring take on her fourth season at Mansfield.
“The way all four of us seniors have stepped up and taken on this leadership role has been something magical,” Rios said. “I think it’s something that makes our team special. We’ve been able to create this chemistry and environment where every player is selfless.”
There has also been an evolving of the leadership over the course of the four years.
“I’ve seen the way this team has evolved,” Rios said. “Over time we’ve bonded stronger, correlating with how over the years all of the seniors progressed into being better and better leaders. It’s not something you see in every team, every senior sharing the same goal and passion for the game that they help carry down for the younger girls. Takes us to a whole new level.”
Even though the four seniors have ample experience, they admit they aren’t resistant to learning each week.
They pointed to a 10-run loss to Paschal when they felt their energy was low and, by their standards, the bats were silent even though they plated five runs.
The next outing, the Lady Tigers belted Legacy, 17-10.
“We’re a good, solid team but we just always have to show up,” Reinke said. “We need a lot of energy. When we’re loose, we do better.”
The pressure from Haltom is for them to just live up to their potential.
“She expects a lot out of us,” Reinke said. “She knows what we’re capable of.”
But where this team goes this season remains to be seen as the district schedule unfolds.
“I’m excited to see how far we will go,” Rios said, hoping to add her third district title. “We’ve been through a lot as a team already due to injuries and other issues, but I think it’s going to help us in the long run. It’s really shaped us and given us this motivation. I really believe in this team. As long as we play lights-out defense and keep hitting the ball like we know how, we should easily surpass our third-round run.”
All four will be playing next year at the next level.
Reinke will play at Arkansas Tech, Rios is going to Louisiana Monroe, Townsend to Prairie View A&M and Richards will be at McLennan Junior College.
For the second time this season, Henderson State’s Michelle Sorensen has been named Great American Conference Pitcher of the Week. The honor comes on the heels of astounding performances in the circle during the Reddies’ series with Arkansas Tech on Sunday and Monday.
Sorensen was a workhorse for Henderson during its record-breaking 3-2 victory on Sunday. The junior from Sherwood, Arkansas, got the win by pitching a GAC-record 19 innings, and though she faced 71 batters, gave up just eight hits, one earned run, and had an incredible 21 strikeouts.
Despite pitching a record number of innings on Sunday, Sorensen, on less than a day’s rest, started again for Henderson in the first game on Monday. Once again she was magnificent in a game that went into extras, as she pitched all 10 innings to get her second win in two days, while allowing one run, on just four hits and striking out 12 more batters, in the Reddies’ 2-1 walk-off victory.
Sorensen received Pitcher of the Week honors back in week three and becomes the first player in the GAC this season to win the Pitcher of the Week award twice.
Henderson’s next games are Friday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. against Southeastern Oklahoma State at Dee White Field in Arkadelphia.
Stay tuned to Vision Fastpitch for the latest softball news.
Watch a North Lamar Pantherettes game and chances are you’ve seen Madison Morrison out there. Morison, a senior, is a multi-sport athlete for North Lamar. You can see her on the basketball court and on the softball field for sure. Until this year, you could have seen her on the soccer field as well.
Morrison was one of the main leaders for the basketball team. She was also a pivotal part of the softball team last year that played in the state tournament.
This year, the basketball team finished co-district champions with Pleasant Grove.
“Our team worked our butts off literally everyday. And if one of us wasn’t feeling it that day, then somebody would be like ‘c’mon lets grind this out’.” – Morrison says about the basketball season.
It was something that clicked with this team. Pre-district the struggled but somehow were able to pull it together. Madison attributes gelling with each other on and off the court as the reason why it happened.
Now, though, she has turned her attention to softball. As mentioned earlier, Madison will be returning with most of the same team from last season. When asked about last year’s playoff run, Morrison described it as “a surreal feeling.”
The Pantherettes know last year was special. They’re not reserving their hotel reservations yet, either.
“[Our expactations are the] exact same as last year. Play like we know how to and the rest will take care of itself.”
After graduation, Madison will be continuing her softball career as she signed to play at the University of Louisiana Monroe.
“Literally it is like such a self-accomplishment in knowing that everything that I’ve worked for since I was eight years old has paid off.”
Until that time, we will be watching Madison and the rest of the Pantherettes try to get back to Austin.
Here is a list of Madison’s Favorites:
Food – steak
Restaurant – Buffalo Wild Wings
Song – Too Many
Band/singer – Miranda Lambert
Color – Purple
TV show – One Tree Hill
Movie – The Last Song
Book – I don’t read
Subject in school – Math
If you could go one place on earth where would it be? Hawaii
If you can have dinner with one person dead or alive, who is it? My neighbor Jackie Libscomb
If you could go back in time and witness one event live and in person what event is it? The Dixie Chicks Concert
Congratulations Madison Morrison for being this week’s Guaranty Bank and Trust Athlete of the Week
STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton’s Nyka Wood and Haley Freyman were named the Lone Star Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week after leading the TexAnns to three wins in five games over national top 10 opponents last week.
Wood got her week rolling with a walk-off, three-run homer with two outs against No. 3 St. Mary’s Tuesday night. Wood stepped into the box against the Rattlers’ Staci Johns and deposited the first pitch she saw deep over the left field fence to walk Tarleton off a winner.
She followed that up with a defensive showcase behind the dish by catching a shutout from Haley Freyman in a 1-0 walk-off win over No. 6 West Texas A&M before rounding out the series with the Lady Buffs with a 3-for-4 day in Saturday’s 7-3 win to clinch the series and a 2-for-4 afternoon Sunday.
For the week, Wood hit .500 after going 8-for-16 with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored, and six RBIs. She slugged .813, fielded 1.000, walked twice, and did not strike out a single time.
Her battery mate and longtime teammate, Haley Freyman, was just as remarkable in the pitcher’s circle for the TexAnns last week as a complete game shutout of the No. 6 Lady Buffs capped off the junior’s week.
She went 3-0 with three complete games and a complete game shutout with 22.0 innings pitched, over which she allowed only five earned runs and struck out 13 – all of which came against two of the top 10 teams in the nation, No. 3 St. Mary’s and No. 6 West Texas A&M. On Friday, Freyman was spectacular as she allowed just four base hits – three of which were singles – to the Lady Buffs, who entered the game with the No. 3 ranked offense in the nation.
She shutout the Lady Buffs and struck out six, including back-to-back punch outs to leave the bases loaded in the fourth inning. She followed up with another complete game win over West Texas A&M in a 7-3 victory to deliver Tarleton’s first series win against the Lady Buffs since 2012.
Wood and Freyman lead Tarleton back to work this afternoon for a 3 p.m. doubleheader against No. 22 Lubbock Christian before hitting the road this weekend for a Lone Star Conference series at Cameron Friday and Saturday.
Stay tuned to Vision Fastpitch for the latest softball news.