Farina helps Fremd storm to victory
After a half-hour lightning delay, Fremd's offense provided some thunder Thursday against visiting Conant.
The biggest blast was junior shortstop Leigh Farina's grand slam to center field with two outs, giving the Vikings a 7-0 lead in the second inning.
That held up as the final score in the five-inning contest called because of more lightning, rain, thunder and impending darkness.
Behind a 1-hitter from senior ace Ashlynne Schwantz (11-3), the Vikings improved to 12-6 and 7-1 in the Mid-Suburban West softball standings.
The game was interrupted in the bottom of the second inning during senior catcher Kristine Herdegen's leadoff at-bat.
When the action resumed, Herdegen walked to ignite the 7-run inning capped by Farina's third home of the season which drove in Kayla Kaufman, Morgan Brauer and Mandi Matsumoto.
"I was just trying to stay focused because I knew they were going to pitch me all over the place," said Illinois recruit Farina, who went 2-for-3 with a single to center in the fifth. "We've been on fire lately so we just brought that to this game and didn't let the delay affect us. We kept our minds on the game."
Schwantz kept to the task, as well, finishing with 6 strikeouts and retiring 11 of the last 12 batters.
Conant got its only hit on a line drive single to right by sophomore Hailey Rothstein with one out in the top of the second inning.
"They've got a really good lineup," Schwantz said. "I think everything was working with my pitches and our defense was really solid. So you put that together and it's really awesome.
"After that break (lightning delay), it really helped getting all those runs right away. It really boosted our confidence."
The Vikings' offense also got a boost from second baseman Tracy Welninski, who went 2-for-2 with an RBI double off the center field fence that drove home pinch runner Emily Bieda in the second inning.
Schwantz, Julie Josten and Brauer also had hits for the Vikings, who now have three grand slams this season. Kaufman and Welninski have the others.
"Ashlynne did a really nice job," said Fremd coach Jim Weaver. "She located well and executed everything we asked. That's a good lineup. Any time you can hold them to 1 hit, that's doing a good job."
The Vikings are scheduled to visit Schaumburg (15-3, 7-2) today.
"We've got to keep moving forward," Weaver said. "The games are coming fast so we've got to be ready every day."
Conant (8-6, 4-4) is looking to regroup after some illness this week.
"The girls have been struggling with the flu," said Cougars coach Cathyann Smith who received 2 strikeouts from freshman pitcher Kali Schumacher (4-4). "We've had some girls out and we are trying to regroup.
"Fremd came out with the offensive momentum and we weren't able to catch up. But our girls are fighters. We will work to come back with a new game plan."
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