Softball: Andrew’s Hudzinski always ready to run
Updated: April 2, 2012 10:44PM
When Andrew catcher Gabby D’Oronzo gets on base, all of her teammates cheer with delight. But nobody is more delighted than Heather Hudzinski.
It means she gets to run.
Also a pitcher and a second baseman, Hudzinski sees most of her time on the field as D’Oronzo’s official courtesy runner.
“I actually love it. It’s really exciting,” she said. “Of course, I always want more playing time. Anybody would in the same situation. But I love what I do, and I don’t have a problem with the position he’s giving me right now.”
Hudzinski earned her position as Andrew’s No. 1 runner last season, according to Thunderbolts coach Jim Holba.
“We kind of rotated a few different people,” he said. “But Heather really got good at it and just kind of took it upon herself to take over that position. She felt it was the fastest way to get involved in the game, and she has done well.”
Hudzinski was a hero last season at the Marengo tourney when she scored the game-ending run in a 3-2 win over Zion-Benton on a sacrifice fly by Katie Christner.
“Whenever I think of softball last year that’s the moment I think about,” Hudzinski said.
Already this season, Hudzinski has been a difference-maker. In Saturday’s 7-3 victory over Normal West, she ran for D’Oronzo and beat a throw home from third.
“I try not to think about it too much,” she said of her role. “If I start to think about it too much I don’t run as well and I’ll miss steps. I just try to stretch my legs as much as possible, and do a lot of the mental stuff like knowing the signs.”
From 14-18 to 17-12 to ...
Shepard coach Kelsey Clifford went young in 2011 and got some surprising results. In 2012, the decision is paying off even more.
The Astros are 8-3 behind the sophomore pitching duo of Stephanie Brand and Melissa Kelly. Brand has 38 strikeouts in 42 innings and a 1.83 ERA. Kelly has 25 strikeouts in 29 innings.
On offense, Kelly leads the team with a .606 average and 15 RBI, including a 4-for-4 effort Friday against Bloom. Franchesca Graffeo entered the week at .550, with 10 RBI.
“This year the group of girls, they’re eager and they’re hungry to win,” Clifford said. “We’re kind of flying under the radar, which I’m OK with. We’ve had a big win over Stagg, and all of our losses have been by one.
“Last year was kind of a soak it in year. This year we’ve stepped it up in the right direction.”