Softball: Weber, Fremd walk away with MSL championship, victory over Hersey

For the second time this season, Fremd walked away with a win over Hersey.

Make that “walked off” with a win.

Senior Josie Weber got her chance Thursday with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning and her team leading 10-3. Right on cue, Weber belted a stand-up double to right center that scored all three runners to give Fremd a 13-3 five-inning victory in the 50th Mid-Suburban League softball championship.

It was Fremd's first crown since 2010 and the first for coach Josh Teschner in his eight seasons as coach. Teschner was an assistant coach for the 2010 crown.

“I was in a similar situation in my last game and I didn't get a runner home,” said Weber, who plans to study biochemistry at Missouri. “I was like, 'This time they need to score. I need to get one of them in.’ ”

Instead she got all three — Anna Kuehner, Taylor Piento and Avery Sheridan — home with her second double of the game.

Weber's first double was a 2-run shot down the left-field line that scored Kuehner and Audrie Corrado to tie the game at 2 in the bottom of the third.

The Vikes (22-3) took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth with 3 runs.

Sadorf hit the first pitch over the center-field fence for her fourth homer of the season and a 3-2 lead.

Claire Kanupke's one-out single to center helped pave the way for Piento's first varsity homer, a 2-run blast to right that put the hosts ahead at 5-2.

Hersey pulled within 5-3 in the top of the fifth on an RBI groundout by Reese Izenstark that scored Grace Grabowy.

“Our energy was so high after that third inning,” Weber said. “That's what allowed us to get all the rest of the runs. It was just great, fantastic hitting.”

The Vikes finished with 8 runs in the fifth on 5 hits, including Weber's second double that gave her a personal-high 5 RBI for one game.

“Josie has been an RBI machine all season,” Teschner said. “And really in the last month or so she is just getting more and more comfortable at the plate. She is seeing pitches and doing what is necessary.”

Hersey jumped ahead 2-0 in the third inning when McKenna Menczywor walked with one out and Grabowy followed with a line-drive single to center. After a walk to Izenstark, Gabby Felman's infield single brought home Menczywor and Grabowy.

“Early on, we gave them a lot of baserunners,” Teschner said. “Our defense wasn't sharp with three errors while giving up only a few hits. As frustrating as that was, Hailey (Lucas, Vikings ace) is a bulldog and she wants the ball. She wants to fight.”

That's exactly what she did the rest of the way, finishing with a 3-hitter and 8 strikeouts, giving her 257 strikeouts for the season. She raised her record to 19-3.

Grabowy had two of the 3 hits and scored 2 runs.

“I thought Grace and McKenna (Menczywor) came with their championship games today,” said Hersey coach Molly Freeman, whose MSL East champions are 21-4. “They made outstanding plays and did what they had to do. I thought Ariya (Patel, Huskies pitcher) threw some really good stuff, but we didn't always help her. When you are in the championship game, you can't have that one bad inning (fifth).

“But Fremd came to play. And congratulations to them. They had a great game. You always want to compare yourself to the best. We have some things to clean up for the playoffs. The top of our lineup made some good adjustments, but you have to do it one through nine in the batting order.”

The Vikings' batting order has been rounding into form lately.

Piento and Leah Sheehan also had a pair of hits. Catcher Mia Souliotis had a key single in their third inning, and Amanda Poniecki delivered an RBI single in the Vikes' 8-run fifth.

“One of things we've talked about, especially when you play a great team like Hersey, is that you're going to have to adjust pitch-to-pitch and inning-to-inning,” Teschner said. “And for us, when you are facing a great pitcher like Patel, you know full well that if you don't keep the pressure on her, she is only going to get momentum rolling.”

Fremd is 4-3 in MSL title games, winning its last three appearances (2010 and 2002).

“It's hard to put in proper words how a game like this feels against a great program and watching our girls continue to battle,” Teschner said. “It didn't matter about the moment. It was just about picking your game. When you play a great team like Hersey, keeping the pressure on is paramount.”

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