Fenton junior Hannah Wassmann is known for her speed, evidenced by her area-best 45 stolen bases last spring.
It looks like there's some pop in that bat, too.
Wassmann slugged 2 homers and drove in 7 runs in each game of a doubleheader sweep of Chicago Jones last week.
It's safe to say Fenton coach Dave Mello didn't see it coming. Wassmann didn't homer once her freshman or sophomore years.
"I've been joking with her, that she's not going to be stealing bases when she's hitting home runs like that," Mello said. "She's locked in, exploding on the ball."
Fenton's 14-5 Game 1 win seemed like a runaway, but Wassmann's homers were timely. The Jones pitcher had set down Fenton's first 13 batters, and the Bison trailed 5-0 in the fifth. Wassmann's first homer, a 3-run shot, gave Fenton a 6-5 lead, and she added a grand slam the next inning.
"That first homer, it changed everything in the game," Mello said. "We were flat. We maybe overlooked our opponent and time was slipping away. That picked us up."
A Wassmann 3-run homer capped a 9-run first inning in Game 2. More true to form, she also walked to lead off the game, and later singled, stole a base and scored.
"There will be times when the balls aren't going out, and she'll go back to stealing bases," Mello said. "But it's nice to know we have a leadoff hitter with some power."
Bad news for Ryndak:
Downers Grove North's worst fears were confirmed Monday.
An MRI on Trojans star junior Dale Ryndak's right knee revealed a torn ACL, torn meniscus and bone chip. Ryndak, committed to Purdue and a two-time Daily Herald All-Area selection, hurt her knee running the bases in the first inning of her team's first game last Tuesday.
"She's definitely done," Trojans coach Mark Magro said. "First inning of first game, it's kind of cruel. But that's life sometimes."
As a sophomore Ryndak went 12-2 with a 0.61 earned run average and 129 strikeouts, pairing with Elaine Heflin as the area's -- perhaps the state's -- best tandem on the mound. Ryndak is also the No. 7-ranked Trojans' best hitter.
"You just don't replace a kid like Dale," Magro said. "She works so hard, and she's so passionate about the game. She'll be back better and stronger than ever, but you do feel bad because she's such a great player."
Magro, whose team went 30-7 last year but was upset in regionals for the second straight year, didn't sound like a coach cashing in his chips. He said Heflin will pitch every conference game, but his focus is on the postseason.
"Hopefully, this makes us more focused," he said. "I don't care about our won/loss record. I just want to prepare for the postseason and peak at regional time."
Waubonsie makes most of long Tennessee trip:
Here's guessing Waubonsie Valley's softball team slept well Saturday night.
The Warriors, at the Macon County Tournament in Cookville, Tenn., played five games on Saturday, going 5-0 to win the 16-team gold division. Rain on Friday pushed back a pair of pool-play games. Not every game Saturday went the full seven innings, but still -- that's a lot of softball.
"By the third or fourth inning they were moving slow, feet were killing them," Warriors coach Aly Kelley said. "I thought, 'Dear God we are actually playing a seven-inning game.'"
The Warriors played like a team desperate to get on a softball field.
Amanda Minahan's two homers, one a grand slam, sparked a 12-0 win over Macon County to start the day.
"People there were like, 'What do you feed these girls?'" Kelley said. "We'd been outside two days all spring. These girls have been dying to get outside. It was all caged up and they let it out at once."
Kelley deemed it a rewarding trip, on and off the field.
Waubonsie left town 6 a.m. Thursday morning, stopping at the University of Louisville to meet the Cardinals' coach and tour the softball facilities. The Warriors spent a short time in Nashville, took in a movie Friday with the weather canceling softball. Most important, Kelley noted, "there was no drama."
"It was so nice and easy, because our team got along so well," Kelley said. "It was really laid back, really good."
St. Francis basks in Florida sun:
Ralph Remus sounded like a guy not terribly excited to be back in the low 40s temperatures of Illinois, and it's hard to blame him.
The St. Francis coach and his Spartans enjoyed a spring break trip to Orlando last week, where they went 4-0.
"It was cooler down there than I expected," Remus said, "but I can't complain. I wish we never left."
The trip got off to an inauspicious start.
St. Francis was supposed to practice on Sunday, but a tornado came through the area, keeping teams indoors for more than an hour. Winds hit the Orlando area at upward of 85 mph.
Once the games started, St. Francis put up a combined 40 runs against two teams from Pennsylvania and one from Alabama. The girls also took in the requisite tourist stops of the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and the beach.
"Our defense was very good. We only made two or three errors in four games," Remus said. "Usually you don't expect that until later in the season. The cold weather might have had something to do with it."
Games to watch this week:
IC Catholic at Montini, Wednesday: Three-time defending Suburban Christian Conference Gold champ IC debuts in the Blue division. Montini, which has already hit 6 homers this year, is tested against Knights ace Jessica Conenna.
Naperville Central at Benet, Thursday: Benet's booming bats, shelved by the weather so far this year, finally bust out. The matchup of Maeve McGuire, Steph Abello and Co. against Redhawks ace Keegan Hayes should be interesting.
Lake Park vs. Glenbard North, Thursday: Lake Park's lineup, led by Stephanie Starr, looked strong in week one. Glenbard North and Sydney Benz will be a tougher early-season gauge.
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