Hillcrest's Allison Freeman signs with North Alabama
Mon. November 18, 2013 at 11:31 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Allison Freeman, a senior at Hillcrest High School, signed a scholarship to play softball at the University of North Alabama. (Photo by Stewart Gwin | The Tuscaloosa News)
When Allison Freeman made her college choice, she bought a new dress.
Freeman, a senior at Hillcrest High School, wore the purple and gold outfit during Monday’s ceremony as she signed a scholarship to play softball at the University of North Alabama.
“It’s definitely very big,” Freeman said. “I’ve worked my whole life for this, so to sign with a great school with a great coach and all that, I’m so glad it’s finally here. I can finally breathe and just play ball.
“I don’t have to worry anymore about where am I going to go or who’s out there watching me. I’m still going to perform at my best and still practice as hard as I did, but it just takes a lot off that I don’t have to worry about anymore.
“I’m really excited, and I’m just so blessed to have the opportunity to play beyond the level of high school.”
Ashley Cozart is the new coach at North Alabama. She directed Lindsey Wilson College to four straight appearances in the NAIA tournament, and her teams won four straight conference regular-season and tournament titles.
Freeman said she wants to study to become a nurse.
“The people in Florence are just amazing,” she said. “They’re so into the school and into the university. Just the university itself, it’s so gorgeous, and the coaches were so nice to me. Pretty much everything about it was just a plus for me.”
Freeman, a right-hander, has 73 career pitching wins, 30 shutouts, 606 strikeouts and a 1.78 ERA. She can throw a fastball, a drop, a rise, a screwball, a curveball and a changeup.
“I’m definitely not the scariest,” she said. “I am big, and that does help me in some ways, my height and just my power. But most of all, I’d think it would be my location and my spin. I worked really hard to get the right spin and keep it out of the middle of the plate so they don’t hit it out. It helps me a lot.”
Freeman joined the Hillcrest varsity as a seventh-grader.
“I think I started when I was 10, but that was just league ball,” Freeman said. “Then I went to travel ball, and from there I just worked my way up to where I am now. It’s been a long time.”
Hillcrest coach Ted Swinney said that in addition to pitching, Freeman could see action as a designated hitter or first baseman.
“She’s earned very bit of it,” Swinney said. “I couldn’t be more proud of her.
“She can throw all the pitches, but more than that, she’s just a competitor and a dominating personality when she’s on the mound.
Swinney said he can count on Freeman because of her experience.
“She’s been through it all,” he said. “The younger players have somebody to look to and know that she’s going to stay under control, she’s going to stay composed and compete every single inning.
“She’s always been one of our top pitchers. She’s gotten better hitting, also. Just her work ethic and the understanding of how the program should be run, she brings all that to the table.”
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