BRISTOL - In the span of six innings, the Freedom broke out of their slump and made a statement in the opening round of the Bristol City Softball Series Tuesday night.
Tahner Thurston provided two bases-clearing hits as the Freedom beat the Black Panthers 18-8 at Rockwell Park.
The Freedom now advance to face the Gators tonight at 6 p.m. in the winner’s bracket.
Thurston, the Freedom’s No. 4 hitter, hit a three-run triple and a three-run double to set the tone for the night.
For the coaches of the teams, however, it’s not always about winning and losing. Among all the hitting and good base running the Freedom put together, head coach Amanda Hill enjoys seeing how her players grow both on and off the field during the season.
“At this age right now, they are learning all about how to persevere when we are down, really being able to keep that morale and that consistency throughout the entire game,” Hill said. “Staying positive and keeping your head in it is really difficult right now so I feel that was our biggest struggle”
Coach Kevin Hatcher of the Black Panthers has a similar philosophy. His goal was to get his players to start recognizing certain situations and make smarter decisions, finding a way to grow their knowledge of the game.
“I've been coaching since T-ball,” Hatcher said. “It's one of those things where you see a kid make a play that they maybe weren't as proficient at at the start of the season or they get a hit. I kid you not it’s almost cliche, but you see the kid make that play and you think that was it, that was the season.”