Softball preps for another long weekend

By Keelen Holcomb

Softball (2-3) will get its long weekend started today as the team prepares to compete in the Grand Canyon University Tournament in Phoenix.

The Huskies will play two games today, the first coming against Texas State University and the second against Grand Canyon University. NIU won two of its first five games of the season, picking up both wins against Florida A&M University.

NIU still has a long time before conference play begins, so the team will have plenty of time to get its feet wet with non-MAC games. The team struggled in many of their games last week, partly due to careless errors on defense.

“Defensively, getting on the field for the first time, I think we were struggling with the pace of the game and the difference between turf and field,” said head coach Christina Sutcliffe.

Senior catcher Emily Naegele won MAC West Player of the Week after her performance last weekend. She scored three runs and finished with two home runs. Naegele came up big in the Huskies’ first win over Florida A&M, coming out with a home run, three RBIs and a triple.

“It’s awesome being the MAC West Player of the Week,” Naegele said. “I’ve worked very hard in preseason getting ready and doing a lot of extra work on my own. Texas State is a big game for us and we had a tough game against them last year. I’m really looking to this next weekend, coming together as a team and winning some ballgames.”

The Huskies have a much different team than they did last season – the team is highlighted with 10 freshmen and seven sophomores. Sutcliffe made it clear that age won’t affect how the team approaches each night on the field.

“We’re not going to use that as an excuse,” she said. “We are a young team. They’re practicing hard and fitting in. We are going to put the best nine out there no matter what year they are, and they just kind of have to learn as they go.”

First pitch against Texas State got under way at 10 a.m. today and first pitch against Grand Canyon is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.