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Saturday, April 21, 2018
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Liberty, Freedom start season strong

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

The spring weather might be stuck in a cold trend, but Liberty and Freedom have bucked that with hot play to start a chilly spring.

Liberty (4-0) and Freedom (5-1) are both acting as league leaders heading into this week with Parkland (3-0) and Emmaus (5-1) also in front of the pack.

The Hurricanes have handled all their obstacles to date, posting wins over Hazleton, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic and Nazareth. Those wins have come by an average of 5.75 runs per game, as last week’s 4-2 win over Becahi was the closest contest the ’Canes have experienced so far.

Still, head coach Andy Pitsilos thinks there’s room for improvement for his young squad.

“We are playing all right right now,” Pitsilos said. “We are young with very little experience, but we’re doing what we need to be successful.”

Pitsilos is often tempered with his sentiment of the team, but Liberty has only given up eight runs through four complete games this season.

The Hurricanes season opener against Easton was suspended after a 3-3 score and will be resumed at a later date in a battle of EPC Steel division leaders.

With Easton (2-0), Freedom and Liberty leading the divisional pact, all three teams should be in the mix for the division title.

With the Hurricanes taking on Dieruff and Parkland this week, a showdown with the Trojans will be an opportunity for the young roster to battle a traditional league power to give them an early season gauge.

“Last year showed our kids what it takes to be successful and how to achieve our goals,” Pitsilos said. “We are playing the way I expected. The pitching has been solid. The running game has been solid. The defense and hitting has been average and needs to get better if we are going to compete.”

Freedom has knocked off Allen, Wilson, Abington Heights, East Stroudsburg South and Dieruff to start the year, while suffering their only loss last week with a 4-3 defeat to Hazleton.

Alec Huertas (1-0) has been especially impressive on the mound in two starts, striking out 18 batters so far this season.

“I expected our pitching to be our strong point and it has been,” said head coach Nick D’Amico. “I thought our defense would be better and I believe it will get better as we get outside more. We have won a few one-run ballgames and that is the sign of a good team. We have a bunch of tough games coming up and we’ll need to clean up the defense and get some clutch hitting.”

The Pates have a tough week with Easton and Whitehall on the agenda.

Bethlehem Catholic is still searching for their first win of the season, but have battled in their two losses — a 2-1 set back to Parkland and last week’s 4-2 defeat to Liberty.

Those are encouraging signs for the Hawks chances as they head into this week with Allen and East Stroudsburg North on tap.