Softball: Dudley's gem lifts Fremd past Rolling Meadows
With two games being washed out over the weekend, Fremd's softball team had a little longer layoff than expected heading into its own Class 4A regional semifinal on Tuesday.
"Honestly it was nice to have the weekend off," said Fremd ace Gina Dudley. "I was ready to go and ready to throw hard."
And that couldn't have been more evident as the senior (15-4) barely missed the third no-hitter of her career while tossing a 10-0 six-inning shutout over No. 13-seeded Rolling Meadows (7-22).
No. 4 Fremd (23-7) advances to Friday's 4:30 p.m. championship against the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 6 Glenbard North and No. 12 Glenbard South.
The Vikes, playing without starting catcher Ryanne Goodwin (tailbone issues) and first baseman Eva Dernis (broken thumb), benefited from Dudley's big performance in which she struck out 12 and lost her bid for a no-hitter in the sixth inning on an infield blooper by Mustangs junior leadoff batter Sophia Olson.
The Vikings have played only nine games with their regular starting lineup and two in the last six weeks.
"I'm really proud of the team for working through the adversity," said Dudley, who will study biology with a premed plan at Rhodes College in Memphis. "We've had a few injuries and we keep pushing through it. Everyone is always there for each other. It's amazing."
Dudley, throwing to catcher Elaina Kraus, was just one out away from a no-hitter through six innings when Olson broke it up.
"Gina did a phenomenal job," said Fremd coach Josh Teschner. "The only hit was a little bloop that just fell in. It is what it is. But she threw beautifully. She would probably even say there were a few innings where she was cruising and a couple of other ones where maybe she lost the zone a little bit. Overall she threw a great game, exactly what you want your senior to do against a team that scored four runs with seven or eight hits against us the first time we played."
At the plate, the Vikings were led by Anna Poss (2-for-3, double, 2 RBI) and Ava Jordan (2-for-3, double, 2 RBI).
Avery Sadorf (2 RBI) led off the Vikes' third inning with a solo homer to left center and she also had a sacrifice fly in the first inning which made it 3-0 when Jordan came home from third.
Kayln McCarthy (double), Chiara D'Antonio and Caroline Montella (2 runs) also hit safely for Fremd.
Olson almost had Meadow's first hit in the third inning but Jordan made a terrific catch while racing forward in left field.
"Sophia has battled the whole year," said Mustangs coach Tony Wolanski, who in 2023 will need just three wins in his 20th season to become Meadows' all-time winningest coach. Greg Benes owns the record with 245 wins. "She's been one of our better hitters all season.
"Give Fremd credit. They played really well. I thought Sam McQueen (Mustangs junior pitcher) battled out there and did some good things. Unfortunately, we just have a bad inning every now and then. But we battled for six innings and the kids just had great effort and Fremd is a really good team."
Dudley was a really good pitcher on Tuesday allowing just one ball to reach the outfield.
"We called on Gina to shut it down and that's absolutely what she did," Teschner said of Dudley, who now has 137 strikeouts this spring.
"For a moment I thought she might get it (no-hitter). But Meadows comes out and scraps, they fight and they put the ball in play and they make you have to make plays."