Freedom wins D-11 baseball title
It’s been a long time coming, and it wasn’t easy.
The Freedom baseball team scored two runs in the top of the second inning, and used a strong pitching performance from seldom used in 2018 Tim Healy, to take down top-seed Parkland 2-1 last Wednesday evening in the District 11 6A championship game at Lehigh University’s J. David Walker Field.
It is the first district title for the Patriots baseball team since 1999.
Freedom (16-9 overall) entered the game as the seventh seed, and an underdog. It had to make it through three games prior to the final, defeating Nazareth, Easton and Pocono Mountain East before the Trojans.
“We’ve been playing good baseball lately,” said head coach Nick D’Amico. “I kept telling the kids to get better every day. If you get better every day, it’s going to work out for us in the end.”
In a low scoring game, it was the pitching that dominated the headlines.
Healy, who made just one start during the regular season before injuring his ribs, went the distance, throwing a complete game, seven inning five-hitter while striking out six batters.
“He came out and threw a great game for us,” D’Amico said. “It was awesome. He was a big key last year on the pitching staff. To have him out for about a month really hurt. To have him ready for the playoffs really helped us out a lot.”
Even with the long layoff between starts, Healy had the confidence in his stuff.
“I just prepared the way I needed to,” Healy said. “I made sure I focused and did what I needed to do to get our team past Parkland, because they’re a very good team.”
In that top of the second, David Smith worked a walk. After a single by Nick Stannard put runners on first and second, Freedom got on the board with an RBI double from Derek Bast. During the next at-bat, Stannard made it home safely after a passed ball got by the Trojans catcher to make it 2-0.
Stannard recorded two of the Patriots four hits. They were outhit by Parkland 5-4, but not outscored.
The Trojans (21-4) cut their deficit to one in the bottom of the third. With a runner on, Adam Mellinger ripped an RBI double off of the left field wall to make it 2-1.
But Healy then retired seven of the next eight hitters to hold onto the lead.
“That’s just the way we are,” D’Amico said. “We’re not going to go out there and get 17 or 18 hits, but we come out and take advantage of the opportunities to get guys on, and then take advantage of those innings. I think we had four hits, but they were four quality hits and got us two runs. That’s all that matters.”
Unfortunately for the Patriots, they’re season ended in their next game, falling 1-0 to Red Lion in the PIAA First Round.