HACKETT, Ark. — Come to a Hackett softball game, and you’ll hear three words a lot.
“Good job Makenzie!!”
The Hornets faithful, cheering on Makenzie Freeman after every one of her strike outs…
“Good job Makenzie!!”
On Monday night, Hackett clinched a conference title.
Freeman gave up just one run across both games of a doubleheader, and racks up as many strikeouts as good jobs.
“Makenzie has been doing a great job for pitching for us," said Hackett head coach Jeff Oxford. "She’s been dominant in a lot of our games.”
Oxford: “Six no hitters total, five of them a perfect game.”
Those five perfect games are an Arkansas state record for a single season.
Freeman said, “Just tell myself, ‘keep pitching. It’s ok if they do hit it. It’s fine, our team will make the play.' So its fun in those situations.”
It's a composure and a calmness that you would expect from a senior.
Except Freeman is doing all of this as a freshman.
“It’s impressive," Oxford said.
"She works hard. Kid is pitching year round, she throws year round. When she’s on vacation, she takes her softball stuff, she pitches. Her family, they’re really putting in a lot of work, and it’s paying off.”
With just four losses on the season and a conference title already secured, it’s paying off for the team as well.
“Our team has done great," Freeman said. "Our offense has been really good. Everyone has done great hitting and our defense has been great. Our outfield, our infield, my catcher, we all do amazing."
"We’ve all done really great so far. I think it’s going to be a really good season, and it has been so far.”
So good in fact, its surpassed even her own expectations.
“I though we'd win. I didn’t know we would be this good. And we’ve done great, which is very good," she said.
One person who’s not surprised? Her head coach.
"I’ve coached Kenzie for a long time," Oxford said. "I’ve known her since she was eight years old. I knew what kind of athlete she was when we came into the season. She’s given me what I’ve expected.”
So if you do come to a Hackett softball game, maybe you’ll expect to see Freeman rack up the strikeouts.
Just expect to hear plenty of cheers for her and the team as well.