Softball team grabs own tourney crown

By Jeff Steffen

The Huskies took a page out of Ernie Banks’ book and played two on Sunday. And they won them both.

NIU first defeated Ball State University 6-5 in 10 innings to gain a berth in the championship game against Western Illinois University, whom they beat 2-1 to take the title of this past weekend’s Huskie Invitational Fall Tournament.

The Huskies got all the runs they needed in the title game against WIU on a two run single by freshman Niki VanHooreweghe. NIU pitcher Kim Compton held WIU to one run in a strong effort to seal the victory over Western.

“I’m really proud of the team,” said NIU head coach Dee Abrahamson. “We’ve only had about 10 practices, and there are parts to our game we haven’t even started working on yet.”

“They got themselves in some trouble but were able to get out of it,” Abrahamson said after the Ball State match-up. “That’s a good sign for a young team.”

The Huskies scored three runs with two outs to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. The three that scored were all freshmen.

“It shows we have a lot of character to be able to come back with our younger players after it looked like it was over,” Abrahamson said.

After squandering a great opportunity in the ninth inning, they won the game in the tenth without getting a hit.

In the championship, Western committed two errors, surrendered a walk and a hit batsman to aid the Huskies’ victory.

Abrahamson noted that although there is not an official poll, NIU and DePaul are considered the favorites to win the North Star Conference this spring.

Next up for the Huskies is the University of Iowa Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa on Oct. 6. At the tournament the Huskies will face the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and host the Hawkeyes—hoping to fare better than the football team.