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33 years later

Freedom Lady Bulldogs make the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 1984

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Times’ Athlete of the Week of May 13 Madison Slowinski pitches at the game at Riverside on May 4.

Times’ Athlete of the Week of May 13 Madison Slowinski pitches at the game at Riverside on May 4.

Times’ Athlete of the Week of May 13 Madison Slowinski pitches at the game at Riverside on May 4.

Robbin Kaufman, Staff Writer

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On May 3, the Lady Bulldogs kicked back into action after a break and faced Steel Valley. Sophomores Trisha Speicher and Madison Slowinski batted strong; however, the team fell 12-4. The team then traveled to Riverside on May 4 to beat them 18-12.

The game that sealed the deal for the girls was held on May 8 against Beaver Falls. The girls won 17-1 and clinched their first playoff berth since 1984. To continue their success, they beat Aliquippa on May 9, 15-0.

Unfortunately, in the first round of 2A playoffs where they faced South Allegheny at Baldwin High School on May 15, they fell 11-1.

This year’s softball team was the second Freedom team to make it to playoffs. The last recorded team to make it was the 1984 team, which was also the first-ever Freedom softball team.

“It feels amazing to finally break the 33-year streak,” Slowinski said.

“Last year they broke a 0-62 winless section streak, then this year the 33-year playoff drought. Ending both was incredible,” Coach Bill Boggs added.

Slowinski mentioned that she believes the team’s success derived from accomplishing more teamwork than years in the past.

The Beaver County Times named Slowinski “Athlete of the Week” for the week of May 13. Slowinski had a strong season with over a .500 batting average and over 100 strikeouts.

“It feels great to accomplish my 100 strikeouts goal that I wanted, but next year, I’m setting my goal higher for myself. I’m honored to be Athlete of the Week [because] it show that my hard work is finally paying off,” Slowinski said.

“I am very proud of her and she is a key ingredient in our success. It’s called fastpitch and to even have a chance to be successful you need both a pitcher and catcher. Fortunately, I have both in Maddy and Trisha, but I also have quality backups with Haley Velemirovich and Jenna Engel, respectively,” Boggs mentioned.

Along with those strong players, sophomore Amber Baumiller and junior Lexi Halvin each held batting averages over .300.

The girls ended the season with a record of 8-8. Overall, the team has positive reflections of the season.

“We’ve accomplished one of our goals this year which was playoffs [and] it could’ve been better, but overall it was a success,” Slowinski reflected.

“Obviously, there is still room to learn and grow and hopefully take that next step and next season, with another season behind my current varsity and additional support from incoming freshmen. I believe I’ll have the pieces to complete the goal I set for myself and coaching the staff to push the varsity where no FHS softball team has been achievement wise,” Boggs stated.

Boggs mentioned that in his original plan for the team, he wanted to turn the varsity team around in three years and is proud to have broken two of the worst streaks in his four years of coaching so far.
“It takes the right pieces and chemistry, then putting the puzzle together, which I’ve been doing slowly,” Boggs said.

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Freedom Area High School's Student Newspaper
33 years later