NIU goes 1-1 in softball doubleheader against Valpo


A power surge lifted the NIU softball team to a 5-3 victory in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday against Valparaiso at Mary M. Bell Field.

Three of the five runs came off home runs from Kayla Kramer and Carly Norton as the Huskies got their first runs via the four-bagger since Norton hit one March 11 against Santa Clara.

Kramer’s two-run blast off Valpo pitcher Sam McGee in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie and nearly hit a Chevrolet Suburban parked on the street in left field. It was Kramer’s first of the year.

“[McGee] basically threw it right down the middle,” Kramer said. “My big thing is I really don’t think about anything when I’m up [at the plate], so I just see the ball, hit the ball. I capitalize on their errors. If they throw it down the middle, I’m going to hit it out.”

The offensive outburst was much appreciated after the Huskies tallied only three runs combined in their last three games.

Even more appreciated could be another strong effort by freshman Morgan Bittner, who threw a complete game and gave up only one earned run. In her last two starts, Bittner has allowed two earned runs in 14 innings.

“She’s definitely pitching the way she is capable of and the way I saw her when I recruited her,” said NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard.

But any hopes of the hot hitting and pitching carrying into the second game were erased as the Huskies lost via slaughter rule 13-1.

Joreigh Landers started the game but only lasted two innings, giving up six earned runs. Andrea Colosimo came on in relief and gave up another seven runs.

“It’s a cold day. You never really know sometimes what you’re going to get from pitchers who have been sitting down for two hours,” Chouinard said.

Even after the tough loss, Chouinard was concentrated on the first game performance of the team.

“It just speaks to what they’re capable of doing and what they should do when they step on the field,” Chouinard said.

The Huskies start MAC play Friday at 1 p.m. as they host Akron for a doubleheader.