Huskies drub WIU for championship

By Mike Morris

The NIU softball team won its own Huskie Invitational tournament over the weekend.

The Huskies destroyed a tough Western Illinois ballclub in dominating fashion, 9-1, in the championship game Sunday. The game will be televised on SportsVision at noon Sunday, Oct. 16.

Huskie head coach Dee Abrahamson and assistant coach Donna Martin said they were pleased with their team’s performance.

“I’m really happy for our players because the two teams we really wanted to beat, and the two best teams we played, were Ball State and Western Illinois,” Abrahamson said. “And we put both of them away. I know that really means a lot to our players.”

The Huskies had been eliminated in two games from the National Invitational Championship two weeks ago and are in the process of finding replacements for four starters lost to graduation.

And the Westerwinds, who were ranked 13th in 1988 NCAA preseason polls and as high as second in the Midwest, have taken first twice and placed second twice in the Gateway Conference in the last six years.

“(The tournament championship) should give us some confidence that we can do what we have to do,” Abrahamson said. “After we came back from the NIC, we talked about adjustments we had to make and things we had to do. And some of that paid off.”

The Huskies started cashing in dividends from the very first game of the tournament. NIU starting pitcher Beth Schrader had a fine performance and shut out Ball State 8-0.

Schrader went the distance in the Huskie victory while her teammates were busy ganging up on Cardinal starter Bernie Coffman. Coffman was All-Midwest, All-Mid American Conference and MAC leader in earned run average, wins and strikeouts last year. But the Huskies pounded out 12 hits off the senior hurler.

Lisa Gilfoy had a two-run homer in the fifth inning of the Huskies’ 5-1 semifinal victory over Illinois-Chicago. Jill Justin hit a solo blast in the fourth inning of the championship game.

NIU finished the tournament with a 4-1 record and outscored its opponents 27-7.