Taryn Freer, Springfield High School

Springfield’s Freer earns all-state softball honors

Now, the junior infielder is raking her way into Wildcats softball history.

Freer was named Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Division I All-Ohio Honorable Mention this season, becoming the first player to earn the honor since North and South High Schools combined in 2008. The last player from the school district to achieve the feat was North’s Stephanie Leep in 2005.

“I was super surprised, excited and full of joy,” Freer said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates.”

Southeastern’s Avery Shepherd was named to the D-IV All-Ohio Honorable Mention squad. The OHSFSCA released the list on Thursday afternoon.

In Champaign County, West Liberty-Salem senior pitcher Kelsey Day was named first team All-Ohio in Division III, while Mechanicsburg sophomore infielder Hanna DeLong and Triad sophomore pitcher Joni Russell were each named second team All-Ohio in D-IV.

Freer hit .582 with six home runs, 38 RBIs and 10 doubles for the Wildcats, who also won their first Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division title since the schools combined.

Two years ago, Freer was diagnosed with an abnormally fast heartbeat and later had surgery. She had to sit out portions of games as a freshman because she would struggle with breathing and get light-headed and dizzy.

“It’s much better,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

At points throughout the season, Springfield High School coach Brett Sadler thought Freer would get a hit in every at-bat.

“It just felt like a beach ball coming in,” Freer said. “I was just seeing the ball really well.”

That wasn’t always the case. A few years ago, Freer would always bunt, but has worked hard on her game to become a threat every time up.

“I would hit every day in my garage and (Coach Sadler) was helping me a lot with my hitting,” she said.

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She was recently selected to represent the Southwest District in the OHSFSCA underclassmen tournament, which will be played on June 17-18.

Shepherd led the Ohio Heritage Conference with a .667 batting average, tallying 12 home runs and 49 RBIs. The Trojans (24-3) won the Ohio South Division title, the program’s first league title since 2003. Southeastern also finished as a district runner-up, falling to eventual state runner-up Mechanicsburg.

Day hit .613 with 10 HRs and 52 RBIs for the Tigers (20-10), who lost to division rival West Jefferson in a Division III regional final.

DeLong hit .542 with 44 RBIs and 12 doubles for the Indians (21-4), who fell to Antwerp 5-0 in the D-IV state championship game.

Russell went 8-8 for Triad this season, striking out 129 batters with a 2.01 earned run average. The Cardinals (12-9) also fell in a D-IV district final game.

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