There’s a nice connection for Kayla Kaufman.
The Fremd junior wears jersey No. 8 and she also hits No. 8 in the batting order.
Kaufman also connected as well as anyone with her bat on Friday in a Mid-Suburban league crossover softball contest with visiting Elk Grove.
The right fielder belted a grand slam in the first inning and finished the game with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to give the Vikings a 12-1 victory by the 10-run rule over the five-time defending MSL East champs.
“I’ve been trying to work on my swing,” said Kaufman, who was 2-for-3 with 6 RBI. “My hitting has been off and I’ve been trying to fix it. I tried to take a shorter step, and was watching the ball instead of pulling my head away.”
The Vikings’ fans watched their team (8-6, 3-1) jump ahead 2-0 when Kristine Herdegen and Tracy Welninski (2-for-3, 2 RBI) each had RBI singles after two were out in the bottom of the first inning.
Shortstop Leigh Farina (2-for-3) had started the rally with a double to right center.
Michelle Mazur (reached on an error), Welninski and pitcher Ashlynne Schwantz were on base when Kaufman belted the ball over the right-center field fence.
“She is a power hitter,” said Fremd coach Jim Weaver. “She has her best at-bats when she is disciplined at the plate. Two home runs and 6 RBI is a pretty great day.”
Schwantz had a nice day on the mound, too, as she retired the side in order in four of the five innings.
Elk Grove’s only base runners came in the fourth when junior Becca Maher broke up the perfect game by leading off with a single to right. She scored the Grens’ only run on an infield single by Brianna Leach with two outs.
“Ashlynne pitched well,” Weaver said. “Offensively, I thought we did a good job. A few of our at-bats got away in the middle innings where we lost a little discipline.”
The Vikings added 3 runs in the second inning when Mandi Matsumoto led off with a walk and Julie Josten (2-for-3, 2 RBI) followed with her third homer over the right-center field fence. Back-to-back two-out doubles by Mazur and Welninski then made 9-0.
Josten also doubled in the fourth inning and scored on Mazur’s groundout.
Schwantz led off the fifth with a single to center and Kaufman followed with her second homer to end the game.
“It always helps to get a few runs on the board early just in case they get a few hits or we make an error,” said Schwantz (7-3), who plans to study education at Iowa. “We made almost every single play in the field so the defense was really good.”
The Vikings return to the diamond this morning when they visit Wheeling at 11 a.m.
“We just need to keep up our confidence,” said Schwantz, who struck out four while tossing a 2-hitter. “Mr. Weaver keeps telling us we are good and that we have to believe it, and I think we are believing.
“Elk Grove (13-5, 4-4) is always a great team. It’s always a fun game and we love to play them.”
The Grenadiers’ best chance for a hit in the first three innings was Marjorie Sloan’s fly to left where Josten came charging in and made a nifty basket catch.
Herdegen, the Vikings’ senior catcher, also came up with a defensive gem when she dove to snare a pop foul near the plate following Maher’s single.
“We opened the doors for them,” said Elk Grove coach Ken Grams. “And they took advantage. You don’t want to open the door for that kind of a team. I thought we swung the bats well but we were playing uphill all the time.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.