With her blazing speed, Fremd senior Mandi Matsumoto can circle the bases in a hurry.
For the first time in her three-year varsity career, the slap-hitting Charleston Southern recruit circled them all after one swing of the bat.
Matsumoto led of Saturday’s Mid-Suburban League softball game with an electric inside-the-park home run to the right-center field gap and the Vikings went on to post a 16-2 decision at Wheeling.
“I had no idea (if it would be a homer),” Matsumoto said. “I was just watching coach (Jim Weaver). I was just hoping to help us get a good start and help my pitcher out because I can’t help her in center field.
“I just watched the ball and she did a good job (running the bases),” Weaver said.
Matsumoto would love to be running after balls in the outfield, too.
But after injuring her shoulder in the season opener, Matsumoto is serving as the designated player. She hopes she can return to the field by the state tournament.
Matsumoto (2-for-4) let her speed do the work again in the third inning when she sparked a 5-run Vikes inning. She led off with a perfect bunt, stole second and third bases and came racing home when Julie Josten stole second base.
Juniors Leigh Farina (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Tracy Welninski (2-for-3, double, triple) each added triples and senior Kristine Herdegen double as the Vikes gained a 6-0 lead for senior ace Ashlynne Schwantz.
Schwantz (1-for-1, RBI) brought home the last run of the inning with a bunt that scored Welninski from third.
Weaver played 17 girls in the game, with 16 going to the plate.
“It was exciting to see everyone playing,” added Matsumoto, who was an all-stater as a junior when she hit .402 with 45 stolen bases. “It’s good to see everyone play and prove themselves.”
The Vikes (9-6, 4-1) scored 8 runs in the sixth inning when relief pitcher Joanna Josten had an RBI single to center.
Freshman Abby Iuorio put down a RBI bunt which scored senior Riley Zimmer, who had reached on an error. Senior Morgan Chencinski also singled in the inning to drive home sophomore Emily Bieda ((2-for-2).
Freshman Alyssa Garcia (1-for-1, walk) started the inning with a walk and later tripled home Iurio and Zimmer.
Schwantz (8-3) threw the first three innings to earn the win, striking out three.
Joanna Josten, a junior, then threw to her sister Julie, a sophomore, for the final three innings.
Wheeling scored its first run in the third inning when Jackie Resnick singled to right and got to third on Nikki Mikosz’ infield hit. Resnick scored on a double steal.
Senior center fielder Sara Kern (2-for-3) singled to center with two outs in the sixth to score Kaitlyn DeBusk for Wheeling’s second run.
The Wildcats (5-10, 0-7) fought to the end, loading the bases in the bottom of the sixth with consecutive two-out singles by Emily Walker, Megan Olsen and Anne Janulis.
“The Mid-Suburban League is a grind,” said Wildcats coach Mike Caringella, whose club showed its hospitality by treating the Vikings to lunch after the game. “Every team we go against is good, and our kids just have to keep learning.
“We are executing but we are not finishing plays. And a team like Fremd will take advantage of that.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.