FREEDOM, Wis. (WFRV) – The Freedom softball team took home its first-ever state championship last year in an extra-inning thriller, and now with another trip back to the tournament, the Irish are looking to defend their title.

Coming off the best season in school history, it was hard to match what the Irish softball program did in 2022. A 30-2 record was good enough to bring home a Division II State Championship, which no other team has done in the program.

A year removed from that title, the Irish are back in the state tournament after a 9-1 win over Waupun in the sectional final last week.

“We have some talented kids. Like I said in the spring, if our pitching could measure up with it, we’d be a tough out,” said head coach Tim Dietzen. “The pitching has really come along as the weather warmed up, which I was hoping.”

Freedom is currently 25-2 on the season with eyes on a repeat. The Irish pitchers have thrown nine shutouts throughout the year to help power the team back to the state tournament.

“We’ve had a lot to deal with this year between injuries and kids missing games. It’s just been crazy. I haven’t been able to write the same lineup down twice until these last four games. So, it’s been a constant juggling,” Dietzen expressed.

The Irish will head to Madison later this week to face Turner in the Divison II State Semifinals on Friday. Proud was an understatement when Dietzen reflected on how this season has gone for his team.

“I’m darn happy to be here, and that was kind of the message I had at the seeding meeting. I think we’re playing our best softball right now. I like where we’re at, and it’s anybody’s ball game at this point,” Dietzen said.

The seniors on the team expressed how thankful they are to end their high school career on the biggest stage down in Madison at the state tournament.

“I think it’s great. I think we’re all really excited to go through this again. Even for some of the new people coming in, I think they’re really excited, and we’re excited to do it again,” senior Rylie Murphy explained.

The opportunity to repeat is there, and the players know just as much.

“It would be a great ending to our senior season and a great start for the people coming back next year going into the next season,” Murphy said.

Freedom was awarded the two-seed and will face off against three-seed Turner on Friday, June 9, at 4:30 p.m. in the WIAA Division II State Semifinals.