Until her sophomore season at Fremd, senior Ashlynne Schwantz was a right-handed batter.
But she credits Viking coach Jim Weaver with making the right move by switching her to the left side of the plate.
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Schwantz showed why Tuesday at Palatine.
Moving into the No. 2 spot in the order for the first time, Schwantz reached base in all four of her at-bats, including 2 singles and 2 walks.
The slap-hitting Schwantz not only keeps defenses off balance with her bat, she keeps offenses off balance with her arm.
Weaver didn't change that at all. She still throws righty, and does it quite well.
Constantly changing the speed of her pitches while throwing to classmate Kristine Herdegen, Schwantz picked up her 15th win of the season as the Vikings rolled past the Pirates 17-1 in 5 innings.
Schwantz allowed just one baserunner (Jamie Haze was hit by a pitch in the second inning) in 3 hitless innings and senior Riley Zimmer gave up only 1 hit in the final 2 innings for Fremd, which improved to 16-6 and 11-1 in the Mid-Suburban West. Palatine is 14-9 and 8-4.
"I didn't exactly want to turn around as a hitter because I didn't think I would be as successful," Schwantz said. "But it proved to work out well. Mr. Weaver was right."
And Schwantz has the Vikings on the right path with her 15-3 record, all the losses by 2 or less runs to powerful St. Charles East, Cary-Grove and Barrington.
"Ashlynne is having a real nice season and I'm real proud of her," said Weaver, whose team is 1 game behind MSL West leader Barrington (12-0). "She threw real well this game against a good lineup."
The Vikings' lineup proved tough up and down the order, uncorking 16 hits led by Leigh Farina, who went 3-for-4 with 6 RBI. The junior shortstop had a pair of 2-run doubles and a 2-run triple over the right fielder's head in the second inning.
Other multiple hitters for the Vikes were Mandi Matsumoto (2-for-4), Michelle Mazur (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and Tracy Welninski (2-for-3, 2 RBI, double). Herdegen had an RBI double and Alyssa Garcia tripled.
Schwantz did not allow a ball hit out of the infield in her 3 innings and had 2 strikeouts.
"We played defense," said Schwantz, whose courtesy runner, Emily Bieda, crossed the plate four times. "That's the bottom line."
Fremd's big inning was the fourth, when 14 batters came to plate and 8 runners crossed the plate. Kayla Kaufman and Morgan Brauer also had hits in the inning.
Palatine's first and only hit came with one out in the bottom of the fourth when starting pitcher Lauren Hedstrom (11-9) tripled to left. Haze then recorded an RBI groundout to Farina.
Zimmer retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth.
"Playing so many games in a row, we've just got to forget about this and move on to our next game," said Pirates catcher Lauren Logan. "We still have the state playoffs coming off so we've got to keep our heads up."