Mother Nature ruins Huskie home debut

By Jeff Kirik

Someone forgot to tell the weatherman about the NIU softball team’s home opener.

Rain prevented the Huskies from playing a doubleheader with the Bradley Braves Tuesday in what would have been NIU’s first home contest of the season. The game was cancelled and will not be rescheduled because the two teams have conflicting schedules.

This means the Huskie home opener will be against Loyola on Thursday. The two squads will play a doubleheader beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Huskie Field.

NIU, which owns a 12-14 record, has played every one of its games this year away or at a neutral field. Last year, the Huskies played 18 games before finally hitting their home diamond.

Assistant coach Donna Martin said the team was disappointed about not being able to play at home because it had geared itself up for the opener.

“We were disappointed. We were ready to play,” Martin said. “We’re just going to have to bottle it up and spill it out again on Thursday.”

Sophomore third baseman-catcher Lynn Lacy, who is currently fifth on the team with nine runs batted in, agreed that the rainout was a letdown.

“I guess the thing that you get upset about the most is that we played all the road games and there was no bad weather,” said Lacy, who is hitting .264 with 18 hits in 68 at-bats. “You get psyched up when you finally get to play at home in front of your friends and family and then it rains.”

Kathy Bulow, a sophomore outfielder who is third on the team with three stolen bases, also said the postponement was disappointing.

“(It is disappointing) mostly because the weather has been so nice so long and we’ve been working so long for this. We’ve played so many games on the road and then our first home gets rained out,” she said.

The Huskies were not totally out of action Tuesday, though, as they were forced indoors for an unscheduled practice. Lacy said the team will be ready for Loyola because the practice session went well.

“We had practice today and it was a good practice even though we were down about not playing,” she said. “I think we’ll be ready to play on Thursday.”

Martin said the NIU coaches and Bradley coach Clint Wilson made an attempt to reschedule the game but neither team could find a date suitable for the other.

NIU and Bradley played a game last fall which NIU won 2-0. That game featured a no-hitter by Huskie pitcher Shari Edwards. Brave mound ace Beth Hawkins-Boniface, considered one of the top pitchers in the country, was hot off a weekend eight-inning no-hitter against Eastern Michigan in Western Illinois’ Westerwind Classic.

Bradley was half of the distance to NIU Tuesday morning when Wilson called to see if the game could be played. However, an overnight rain had saturated Huskie Field and a backup field which Martin and head coach Dee Abrahamson had reserved, making the game unplayable.

Last season, NIU went 3-7 at home, while establishing a 23-19 overall record. The Huskie home opener was spoiled by Illinois State a year ago when the Redbirds swept a doubleheader from NIU.