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Freedom breaks through for first AAA regional win

photoZach Newell is warmly greeted by his teammates after scoring a run for the Freedom in the AAA Northwest Region baseball quarterfinals May 28. Newell went 4 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs as the Eagles defeated Stafford, 11-3.—Times-Mirror Photo/William Burke

A balanced offensive attack supported Andrew Lamont’s complete-game effort in the Freedom Eagles’ solid 11-3 victory over Stafford May 28 in South Riding, advancing past the quarterfinal round of the AAA Northwest Region baseball tournament.

The Indians drew blood early when Lamont surrendered a two-out two-run single in the first. The right-hander proceeded to hold Stafford at bay thereafter, allowing three more hits and one more run for his 11th complete game of the year.

“That’s what you get from Lamont every game. He’s going to pitch to contact,” said Freedom coach Jason Treon of his curveballing senior, who struck out just two on the night. “He understands pitching.”

Lamont got plenty of help from his friends. The Eagles put up runs in every inning but the third, with the decisive rally coming in a five-hit, six-run barrage in the second.

Kyle Wrighte and Colin Dean clubbed consecutive two-run doubles ahead of Matt Malacane’s fence-clanging RBI double to center. Zach Newell gave the merry-go-round its last turn, singling to send Malacane around to score.

“The scouting report said [Stafford starter Ryan Leake] was throwing about 75 percent fastballs, so anything straight, we were aggressive,” Treon said, noting that his staff had scouted the Indians in their region opener May 24 while Freedom had a bye.

“The kids had a really good approach at the plate. I’m really pleased with our offensive mentality tonight.”

Defensively, Joey Plesce stopped the show in the fifth with a diving grab of a long drive to right-center, extending fully to haul it in as the fence quickly approached.

It is the Eagles’ first region win in the sport since the school was founded in 2005, the latest in a series of firsts for the baseball program. Freedom also won regular season and district tournaments for the first time.

“We’ve had a really supportive administration here and the kids have bought in to the program over the past three years,” Treon said. “They’re playing a lot of baseball outside of the season and really learning the game. That’s been the biggest change.”

Freedom will host Forest Park in the regional semifinals May 30 at 6 p.m.

-All photos by William Burke


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