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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Shumaker swipes NIU’s stolen bases record

Huskies split doubleheader action, win series over Kent State
Tim Dodge
Senior third baseman Caitlyn Shumaker (3) rounds first base after hitting a single to left field against Kent State Saturday. Shumaker broke the NIU softball career record of 61 stolen bases. (Northern Star File Photo)

DeKALB – NIU softball’s all-time stolen bases leaderboard has a new name atop its list.

Senior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker logged the 60th and 61st stolen bases of her NIU career during Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Kent State University to become the program’s all-time leader in career stolen bases.

Shumaker stole 13 bases in 2021 as a sophomore transfer from the University of North Dakota and 34 in her record-breaking junior year. With 14 steals, 29 games into her senior season, Shumaker overtakes Jill Carpenter’s 24-year-old record of 59 steals.

“It feels great, but ultimately it wasn’t me,” Shumaker said. “It was the Lord Jesus Christ working through me, so I was thankful I was able to do this on Easter weekend, too, just knowing that because of what He did on the cross, I’m able to come out here and do what I can and glorify His name and everything that I do.”

NIU (9-20, 3-6 MAC) and Kent State (18-10, 4-2 MAC) each took a game in Saturday’s doubleheader at Mary M. Bell Field. The Golden Flashes emerged victorious in the first game by a final score of 5-3 before the Huskies came away with the 5-2 win in the weekend finale to take the season series.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without each and every one of the girls on our team,” Shumaker said. “We really just work together when we come out with these wins.”


Kent State senior first baseman/catcher Emily Lippe put the Golden Flashes on the board first with a two-run home run in the third inning.

NIU senior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson responded with her own two-run homer in the bottom of the same inning. Junior middle infielder/outfielder Avery Carnahan later doubled to bring freshman outfielder Katy Ramage home for the go-ahead run.

In the fifth inning, freshman pitcher Hannah Bolly relieved sophomore pitcher/utility Danielle “Dee Dee” Stewart in the circle. Bolly quickly gave up three hits, a walk and three runs to drop NIU into a 5-3 deficit.

Senior pitcher Emily Dato replaced Bolly and pitched the remainder of the game without surrendering a hit or walk.


In the circle, sophomore pitcher Lily Cassell made her second start of the season. Cassell dealt a season-high six strikeouts and allowed seven hits and a walk while pitching the second complete game of her college career.

“It was just a game that I felt comfortable with, and my teammates had my back,” Cassell said. “So I was able to relax and do what I do best.”

The Huskies found themselves in trouble early as twice they faced bases loaded with one out before getting two quick outs to escape the side unscathed.

Stewart scored NIU’s first two runs of the game after homering into center field on her first at-bat of the game.

After being walked on her first at-bat, Shumaker dashed to second base to achieve the steal needed to become NIU’s all-time leading base-snatcher.

“She’s just kind of a different beast on the bases,” said NIU softball head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “She does it with such finesse.”

Carnahan later brought Shumaker home after the former singled into left field, putting the Huskies at a 3-0 advantage after one inning.

The Huskies struck again in the fifth inning as Shumaker hit an RBI double, scoring freshman middle infielder/outfielder Alana Powell’s first career run. Powell was credited with the run after being obstructed on third base.

NIU closed out the scoring in the fifth inning with another Carnahan RBI single to bring home Shumaker’s second run of the day after the latter stole third base.

Cassell finished off the Golden Flashes with three strikeouts and allowed no hits in the final two innings to earn her second win of the season.

With a MAC series win under their belts, Sutcliffe views the Huskies’ weekend performance as a step in the right direction.

“We knew we needed to start winning at least two out of three,” Sutcliffe said. “That was our goal going into this weekend, and we’re just trying to, as much as we can, pick one team off at a time and fight our way back into this.”


The Huskies have a brief break from their conference schedule ahead as they host the University of Illinois Chicago (10-23, 3-6 MVC) Wednesday for a doubleheader at Mary M. Bell Field.

MAC play resumes Saturday when the Huskies begin their road series at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Streams for both of Wednesday’s games will be aired on NIU All-Access. Live statistics will be available on SIDEARM Sports.

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