Softball team hosts DePaul

By Jeff Kirik

A pair of softball teams heading in the same direction will collide today in an afternoon doubleheader at Huskie Field.

DePaul and NIU will compete against each other next year in the North Star Conference but still have to settle their business for this season. They will play the last two games of their three-game season series today at 2:30.

The Blue Demons beat the Huskies 1-0 in their only previous meeting this year. In that game, NIU hurlers Maria Leake and Beth Schrader combined for a two-hitter but could not prevent the narrow loss. DePaul sophomore pitcher Beth Fogarty was able to shut out the Huskies by scattering six hits.

“We had opportunities in that game but we didn’t take advantage of them. We’ll have to take advantage of them this time if we want to win,” NIU Coach Dee Abrahamson said.

DePaul Coach Eugene Lenti said his team’s defense was a key to the win in the first contest because NIU was hitting the ball solidly the whole game.

“Wherever they hit them (the balls), we were there,” Lenti said. “We shut down Jill Justin (NIU’s leading hitter). And that’s not easy to do.”

owever, a couple weeks have passed since that contest and both teams have been successful in that time frame. DePaul enters the contest 20-11-1 while NIU brings in a 15-15 mark.

“They (the Blue Demons) are in the middle of a pretty good season. They’re a very steady team,” Abrahamson said. “They do what has to be done to win and don’t make many mistakes.”

Pitching, as it was in the first game, should be the key to the two games. Abrahamson described what type of pitching staff the Blue Demons have.

“Their pitching has been consistent. They have the kind of pitching where they don’t give up many walks. You have to put the ball in play against them,” she said.

Fogarty and freshman Ann Cooley will each pitch one game tomorrow for the Blue Demons. Lenti compared his pitchers, saying, “They’re both good pitchers, but Fogarty has more experience and more command of her pitches. She has very good control.

“We have good pitching, but it’s not overpowering. We don’t walk very many people. We make the other team put the ball in play, so it’s important that we play good defense.”

Schrader injured herself in the first game of a Tuesday doubleheader against Western Illinois when a bouncing ball hit her right knee. Abrahamson said she might give Schrader a rest against DePaul because of the injury.

Therefore, in the first game today, Abrahamsom might start Shari Edwards, who shut out WIU in the nightcap of Tuesday’s twin bill. Second game mound honors should go to the freshman, Leake, who has not pitched since last Thursday’s doubleheader against Loyola.

Lenti noted his team would have to get timely hitting off Leake and Edwards because it does not have the power hitters that NIU has.

The Blue Demons have received consistent hitting from three sources, though. Sue Lamar and Kandy Nied have hit .295 and .288, respectively, while Kelly Hogan leads the squad with a .325 average.

NIU, on the other hand, is led by Justin’s .500 average. Amy Veld, Sue Kause and Heidi Hutchison are also over the .300 mark.