By PATRICK CASEY
The Freeport Bulldogs softball team scored seven runs in the fourth inning to propel the squad to a 13-7 win over South Walton High School on Friday night. Freeport, which had lost the first nine games of the regular season, pounded out 14 hits as Taylor Taunton had four of them plus a sacrifice fly in driving in four in the contest.
Taunton hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to give the Bulldogs the lead but South Walton struck back for two runs in the bottom half of the frame to tie the score as the Seahawks Allison Stroop had an RBI single to help the rally.
The Seahawks took the lead at 3-2 in the bottom of the second inning as Lacy Littlefield drove in a run with a single for the home team’s first lead of the night.
Freeport tied the game again in the top of the third as Amanda Bates stroked an RBI double to knot the contest. The Seahawks jumped ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the third inning as Megan Macleod drove in the go-ahead run with a single.
Freeport turned the game in the top of the fourth inning as two errors put runners on base for the Bulldogs. Dannica Mosher provided an infield single to drive in a run, followed by RBI singles by Megan Seibert and Taylor Taunton for a 6-4 lead. Amanda Bates drove in two more with a deep single and Rani Simmons dropped in another hit as the Bulldogs built a 10-4 lead.
Kayla Eldridge helped the Bulldogs add two more runs to the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning as she doubled to extend the lead to 12-4. South Walton struck back for two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning but could have had more had Freeport shortstop Dannica Mosher not caught a line drive and turned it into a double play by nailing the runner off the bag at third base to end the comeback at 12-6.
Each team added a run in the seventh inning but Freeport pitcher Rani Simmons was able to close out the complete game for the Bulldogs’ first win of the season.
“If it could go wrong it has,” Freeport coach Charles Trotman said about the early part of the season. “But not tonight, tonight we hit the ball over and over again to get a big enough lead to earn the win.”
South Walton’s Meagan Ellison took the loss as she pitched all seven innings for the Seahawks. The Seahawks suffered hand injuries to a pair of players that caused them to have to finish the game with only eight in the field in the seventh inning.
South Walton fell to 3-4 with the loss in the non-district affair. The two teams will meet again on March 21 in Freeport at 6 p.m.