Standing on the Riley Park baseball field, Katie Freeman felt some bittersweet emotions as she heard her name over the speakers.
On the one hand, she was excited to accept her award as the Lowcountry Softball Player of the Year. On the other, it’s likely the final time the pitcher will be praised as a member of the Ashley Ridge Swamp Foxes.
“We accomplished a lot,” said Freeman, who is heading to the College of Charleston this fall. “We fell short of our goal, but we were a really good team, and I’m going to miss the rest of the girls.”
Freeman joined several other boys and girls Tuesday at Riley Park where they received plaques for making the All-Lowcountry teams for baseball and softball.
The teams are chosen by the Post and Courier. And Tuesday, players were honored by the Charleston RiverDogs, the low-level Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
Fellow Player of the Year Geoffrey Gilbert couldn’t be there, as he’s already up in Clemson where he’ll play college ball. The Bishop England product led his squad to a Class AAA state title earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Freeman helped her squad reach the Class AAAAA softball championship, where they fell to Lexington.
It was a tough loss, she said after receiving her award. But the future is bright as she transitions from a Swamp Fox to a Cougar.
“I’ve already been getting some workouts in, and I’ve just fallen in love with the school,” she added.
In addition to the high school award winners, Freeman’s coach, Larissa Shannon, was named Coach of the Year for softball. And so was Katrina Moffett, who led Hanahan to the Class AAA Lower State Finals, one step away from the championship.
For baseball, Bishop England’s Mike Darnell and Oceanside Collegiate Academy’s Jerry Stoots were named Lowcountry Coaches of the Year.
Similar to Freeman, Stoots accepted his award while wishing his team could have gotten over the hump. The Landsharks fell to Landrum in the Class AA state championship in May.
“We had a really good team, and we have some unfinished business to take care of next year,” said Stoots, the winningest coach in South Carolina history through 46 years.
RiverDogs president Dave Echols said the team is always excited to welcome the high schoolers to the stadium. For more than a decade, they’ve held the ceremony at RiverDogs games.
“I think it’s a thrill for them,” Echols said. “They’re meeting some of our players and that helps bridge the gap between high school and the professional level. It’s really a celebration of the sports.”