There’s a memorable line in the classic movie “Rudy” in which Charles Dutton’s character, Fortune, describes the athletic stature of Sean Astin’s Rudy, “You’re five-foot-nuthin’, 100-and-nuthin.’”
If Fortune had ever made his way over to Harris Field anytime in the past four years, he might have been able to deliver the same line to Bronx Science senior Anna Leidner who is maybe a tinch over five feet, and is most definitely in the 100-and-nuthin range.
But unlike Rudy, who as an undersized underdog finally has his one moment in the sun, Leidner is the star of her show. The Wolverines’ five-foot-nuthin’ ace was at the top of her game again last week when Bronx Science met Stevenson with a chance to lock up the Bronx AA Division title for a fourth straight season.
And all Leidner did was allow one hit and strike out 14 as the Wolverines rolled to an easy 9-1 victory.
“She’s been a four-year player for us, and she’s been everything for us, especially this year,” Bronx Science head coach Tom Morris said. “The way she leads by example and by performance. She’s just everything. We really appreciate what she’s done for us.”
There are a lot of teams around the Bronx high school softball circuit that may not appreciate Leidner as much as Morris does, and who can blame them? Leidner has dominated the Public School Athletic League since arriving four years ago, helping the Wolverines post a phenomenal 51-6 mark in the regular season in her illustrious career.
But even with all she has accomplished, along with a bevy of talented teammates, Leidner is not one who likes to talk about herself. In fact, after dominating Stevenson, it took some coaxing by her parents to get her out of the winning dugout for a little postgame interview. The shy senior prefers to do her talking on the mound.
“I’m really proud to be a part of this and what we’ve done here,” Leidner said. “It’s taken a lot of work over the years.”
But Leidner has made it look effortless.
She opened the game by fanning Stevenson’s Katelyn Figueroa, then struck out the side in both the second and third innings, fanned two more in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, before putting the exclamation point on the victory by striking out Jisely Rosario to end the game.
The Wolverines got three homers in the game to provide all the offense Leidner would need as Brett Zakheim and Alexa Asch each slugged solo shots, while a two-run homer came courtesy of, you guessed it, Leidner. Seems there is little she can’t do on the softball field.
“We hit some shots today,” said Morris, who is far more talkative than Leidner. “The second time through the order they really brought it. It helped me relax a little bit when we didn’t come through early. We left the bases loaded in the first inning, and that was killer. But I just trust them to do their thing, and they did. And (on the mound) Anna was hitting her spots like crazy.”
The victory means a special place in Science history for seniors like Leidner, Asch and Fiona Sullivan, who had an RBI single in the win.
“It’s been four in a row now,” Morris said. “The seniors have won (the division) every year they’ve been here.”
Now with the playoffs looming, Leidner and Bronx Science will look to make one last memorable run in the postseason as Leidner is not yet ready to call it a career just yet.
“I’d like to win at least a couple of rounds in the playoffs, and I think we can do that,” Leidner said. “This has been great in terms of friendships. Everyone here is my best friend, and it’s been a really great experience.
“I’m going to be really sad to leave everyone here, and the team and Tom, when it’s over. It’s all been great.”