Longtime friends and teammates set to go separate ways in college ball
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -COVID-19 ended spring sports seasons early all across the world. And that was particularly bitter for the many seniors who's final year of high school ball was cut short. Here in Florida, some small consolation is the fact many of those seniors still able to play summer ball together. And that includes a pair of North Bay Haven teammates who have been playing together for quite some time!
So as the summer softball season winds down, many seniors, like Katie Walters and Lauren Freed, are saying goodbye, as teammates and more.
"Since we were in elementary school, we've been playing against each other, and then we started playing with each other in seventh grade." Walters told us. "We've just gotten really close from playing together all these years. It's great to play with someone for that long."
Katie Walters and Lauren Freed, teammates since seventh grade are about to go their separate ways to play in college, but they're already missing each other.
"Me and Katie just joke around with each other." says Freed. "We just get along so well, and I just feel more confident when she is on the field with me. I don't know. I just feel more secure. I hope she feels the same with me."
After strong high school careers, Katie is going to Northwest Florida State. Lauren is headed to Florida State College of Jacksonville.
Among the things they will miss are superstitious traditions. For instance, Katie will not throw a pitch at the beginning of an inning if Lauren doesn't hand her the ball beforehand.
One of their biggest fans is Lauren's father Robbie Freed. He says this pair are leaving behind a legacy.
"They started as seventh graders at North Bay Haven and grew that program into a powerhouse together." Robbie told us.
Sadly, that legacy didn't get the finish it deserved.
"Losing the senior season was just a tremendous loss." says the elder Freed. "They had worked so hard their whole lives since they were seven, eight year olds all the way up, playing travel ball. It's all supposed to culminate to having this fantastic senior year."
"Just really got me down, not having my senior season." Katie exclaimed.
Even though their paths are headed in different directions, the girls know they will always have the game to bring them together.
"I know that after this," says Walters "we are going to go our separate ways, but when we come back to Bay County, we will always hit together in a cage or throw together. Find some way to keep playing softball together."
The girls played in their last tournament together last week at the USFA World Series, but we will certainly be keeping up with them as they head to the next level.
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