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Freeport out-slugging opponents

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Freeport softball is powering through its early season schedule.

Since a 16-1 loss to Herricks in its opening game, Freeport (5-1) has outscored opponents 107 to 29 while riding a five game winning streak. First-year head coach Rich Genzone hopes the recent stretch of dominance continues into May and positions the Lady Red Devils for a chance to snatch a second straight conference title.

“Herricks beat us up pretty good in that first game,” Genzone said. “Since then we have been working hard and are really rolling now.”

Freeport’s offensive fireworks were on full display in a 26-7 win at Malverne on April 12 that featured a 13-run second inning. Junior pitcher Naggalie Cruceta had a day to remember going 5-for-5 at the plate with six RBIs to go along with three strikeouts on the mound. Sophomore center fielder Yullianna Frometa went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in her own unstoppable performance.

The Red Devils followed up the Malverne blowout with a 26-14 thrashing of Roslyn. Freeport trailed 14-13 before exploding for nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning with Cruceta smashing two home runs in the frame. She also hit back-to-back home runs in the explosive inning with her cousin, Kisaire Cruceta.

Freeport’s offense and pitching all came together in a 21-0 shutout win against Lawrence in Tuesday that featured a one-hitter from Cruceta, She also delivered three home runs including one grand slam.

“The team is gelling,” Genzone said. “They are becoming more and more of a team.”

The Crucetas combined for seven hits and six RBIs in the Malverne win. They were among nine players who recorded hits including Frometa, Daelyn Ross, Gianny Reynoso, Jen Ramos, Cheyenna Bardsley, Eolyn Carbajal and Yamilet Peralta.

“Our girls can hit,” Genzone said. “They can all see the ball well.”  

Ross has sparked Freeport on and off the diamond as team captain. The senior third baseman hit a grand slam in the Red Devils’ 17-4 home win against Valley Stream Central on April 5.  She also knocked in four runs in the Malverne victory.

Freeport next takes the field on Thursday against Roosevelt with first pitch at 4:30 p.m. before taking on Elmont Saturday at 10 a.m. The Red Devils will then travel to the North Shore for a rematch with Herricks Monday at 4:15 a.m. in a likely must-win game to retain home of claiming the one available playoff spot in Conference AA-III.

“I think we are a formidable team, but here is little margin for error if we want to make the playoffs,” Genzone said.

Beyond wins and losses, Genzone is proud of how his team has buckled down in the classroom. He said entering the season some players were struggling to stay academically eligible, but now the entire team has earned passing grades.

“I’m very proud of that,” said Genzone of his players’ academic turnaround. “I want them to succeed on and off the field.”