Softball: Fremd finding fine stride

Updated 5/19/2017 9:51 PM

Every team wants to be playing its best during the final week of the regular season.

Fremd's softball squad sure hasn't missed that point -- outdoors or indoors.

And the Vikings haven't missed the ball very often, at the plate or in the field

They've registered two straight five-inning triumphs to head into next week's postseason.

First the Vikings won 10-0 at Prospect on Wednesday, then they blanked Crystal Lake Central 11-0 inside the friendly confines of the Rosemont Dome on Friday.

The game was originally scheduled for the Chicago Bandits outdoor stadium but inclement weather moved it inside to the complex located a few hundred feet west.

"It's really exciting to play in the big park because the atmosphere is really cool," said Vikes senior shortstop Reagan Schneider. "But we just wanted to play, come out and get a win, and we did that."

They did it in the same way they did at Prospect, using pair of junior pitchers.

Nikki Kehoe (11-4) threw the three perfect innings to start the game and Hannah Ban (4-2) went the final 2 innings, allowing just 1 hit.

"We believe with Nikki and Hannah we have two phenomenal pitchers and in any situation they can go out there and shut a team down," said Fremd's Josh Teschner, whose club improved to 19-7. "The plan was to go into the week and take a look at that. We wanted to stick to a plan and see it how it worked."

It worked out even better the way the Vikings' bats were working.

Junior Jess Mazur's deep sacrifice fly to center scored Schneider for the only run Fremd would need in the first inning.

The Vikes added 9 runs in the second inning when they sent 14 batters to the plate.

Schneider belted a bases-loaded double down the right field line to make it 4-0.

Senior Becca Uhrich then drew a walk before Tennessee-Martin recruit Mazur hit a 2-run double to the left center field gap for a 6-0 cushion.

Junior Grace Stevens lined a 2-run single while classmates Anna Freveletti and catcher Lexi D'Ambrosio added RBI singles to give Fremd a 10-0 lead.

The Vikes' final run came in the fourth inning when Anne Marie O'Sullivan crushed a leadoff triple to left center.

A two-out infield single by Ban got home the 11th run.

In all, Fremd had 9 hits, led by O'Sullivan (2-for-3, 2 runs) and Freveletti (2-for-2, 2 RBI).

"They (Fremd) are a real nice team," said Tigers coach Brian Strombom, whose roster includes only one senior "I had not seen them but had heard they played solid defense and had great pitching. I believe it now."

The Tigers (4-25) got their only hit in the top of the fourth. Freshman Hailey Geske singled to left with two outs, giving the Tigers runners on first and second.

But Ban got the next batted on a grounder back to the mound. She then retired the side in order in the fifth.

"They (Fremd) are going to be a tough out in the regional next week and beyond," Strombom added. "They have disciplined hitters. It's frustrating when we make good pitches and they're able to get around it. That's a credit to Fremd. They are very well-coached and polished."

And they are ready for the postseason.

"This is a really good way to go into regional," Schneider said. "I think we know what our strengths are and what we have to work on. We go into every game wanting to come out strong."

Teschner believes his team's approach at the plate the last few weeks has been where it needs to be.

"I said a month ago that there is not a team in the state we feel we can't compete with at a high level," he said. "It's just a matter of getting the pieces to all come together. It's been a process. Like I told the girls at the start of the season, it's a marathon a not a sprint. Now we are at the important time where hopefully we can kick it into high gear and finish strong."

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