The Freeport Falcons began their season on a high note Thursday afternoon, April 14, dramatically upending a feisty squad of visiting Lakers. After a mid-game Lake Region surge to knot up the score at seven apiece, Alexa Koenig blasted a shot to center in the last ups of regulation to score Kasey Erlebach and secure an 8-7 Freeport victory.
“Both teams played well,” said Freeport head coach Jason Daniel. “The pitching on both sides was good, and it was a great game, going back and forth.”
Lake Region began the game looking strong. The team’s very first batter, Liz Cole, knocked a double and advanced to third when Jackie Morse grounded out. The team couldn’t get Cole around to home again, however.
Instead, the Falcon seized the early momentum, scoring twice in their opening ups. Koenig singled, then stole second; Lauren Briggs singled and stole as well, giving the Bailey Karnes runners at second and third to work with. And work with them Karnes did, soon clubbing a two-RBI base-hit and putting the Falcons on top.
Lake Region swiped one back in the top of the second. Madison Rock singled and stole, then eventually scored when Dessi Berry singled and Karnes erred on defense. Lakers pitcher Kaylyn Lorrain struck out two Falcons in the bottom of the inning to get her girls quickly back to the plate, where Morse immediately singled, stole two bases and scored on a Brooke Harriman groundout.
Lake Region tallied two more in the third, ultimately taking a 4-2 lead: Lorrain and Rock both singled, and Lorrain stole her way home; Rock later crossed the plate on an Ali Sawyer base hit.
Freeport balanced the scoreboard at four-all in their next ups. Lorrain walked both Koenig and Morgan Karnes, then Karnes scored on a Briggs hit and Koenig on a Callie Toothaker groundout.
The Lakers answered right back, however, Cole and Morse both reaching base on Falcons errors. Morse eventually notched a run on a Harriman double, but Cole got caught out at home. Harriman stole third on Lorrain’s at-bat, and scored on a Rock single.
Now the score stood 6-4, and 6-4 is where it would linger until the top of the seventh, when Lake Region padded their lead, Rock singling and eventually rounding home on a Jasmine Irish base-hit.
The bottom of the seventh, then, arrived looking grim for the Falcons. They needed their biggest ups of the afternoon just to force extra innings, and an even bigger ups to outright win. Well, they produced exactly that.
Bailey Karnes singled to kick things off, and Callie Toothaker followed her with another single. A fielder’s choice at second caught Karnes out, however. Toothaker managed to steal second on Abbye Koenig’s at-bat, keeping a Falcons runner in scoring position. Koenig singled to push Toothaker to third – and then Brianna Welch nailed a triple, scoring both her on-base teammates. Welch herself stole home on a pass ball, tying things up at 7-7.
“This was a huge game for our returning players,” said Daniel. “Lake Region beat us last year 15-1, shutting us down in five innings. And for our newcomers, it was a great confidence builder.”
Briana Bellefleur walked, but got pinched at second when Erlebach singled to Harriman, the Lakers’ shortstop. That left Erlebach alone on first with two outs.
Morgan Karnes pushed her forward – into scoring position – with a single that brought Alexa Koenig back to the plate.
“I look at her from third,” said Daniel, “and tell her we need a big hit, take your time, be confident – and she gets a great hit, over the centerfielder’s head, and drives in Erlebach, the winning run.”
“The girls all worked hard and together,” Daniel said. “They all made contact with the ball and played great – just a couple errors.”
Freeport tallied five errors, in fact. For their part, the Lakers played error-free – a state of affairs that says good things about both squads. That is, Freeport displayed great grit, persevering despite their handful of mistakes, and the Lakers showed off just how slickly they can field against a team making a good deal of contact. Freeport hashed 13 hits in the contest, and Lake Region 14.
Freeport’s next bout is at Yarmouth on April 25; Lake Region hosts Old Orchard Beach that same day.
Kaylyn Lorrain took to the pitcher’s circle at Freeport on Thursday.
Freeporter Alexa Koenig makes contact in an early at-bat vs. visiting Lake Region on Thursday.
Dessi Berry gets underneath an infield fly on the road at Freeport on Thursday.
Lakers shortstop Brooke Harriman covers second as the Falcons’ Bailey Karnes slides for the bag.
Laker Madiso Rock takes a cut at the plate against the Falcons on Thursday.
Dessi Berry leads off third for the Lakers at Freeport on Thursday.
Falcon Brianna Bellefleau unwinds into a pitch vs. the visiting Lakers on Thursday.
Callie Toothaker hunkers behind the plate at catcher for the Falcons.