Sneak a peek in fall ball


Play ball!

As most professional teams are hearing that for the final time this week, Northern Illinois University’s softball team heard it for the first time last Sunday when they played host to Northern Iowa.

With competition originally scheduled to begin on Saturday, dreams were drowned on the diamond when the rain didn’t stop until after 10:00 p.m. Saturday night, forcing the two-day tournament to be completed in one day.

Opening up fall action against Northern Iowa, center fielder Angela Porcelli went two for four while catcher Denise Bloy chalked up an RBI double. Also leading the way against Northern Iowa was Amy Scharlau who went one for three.

“The whole idea of fall is to get them some playing time and for us to make our decisions for spring,” said head coach Dee Abrahamson. “Lots of new faces keep shuffling in and out of the lineup.”

Against Loyola, Jenny Brummel banged out three singles while Scharlau drove in a run and scored a run in her two for two effort.

Bloy also collected an RBI on a single and two more on a triple proving to be unstoppable against Loyola pitching.

Missing from the Huskies’ starting lineup this fall will be first base standout Niki VanHooreweghe. After separating her shoulder in an accident this summer, VanHooreweghe will be out of action until January.

Last year, as a sophomore, VanHooreweghe received an award no other Northern Illinois University student had ever won when she earned a place on both the Academic All-American Team and the Athletic All-American Team.

“It’s a challenge to replace her on the field this fall and we’re just anxious for her to get back,” said Abrahamson.

While leading the team last year to a 40-18 overall record and a 12-4 record in conference, VanHooreweghe compiled a .355 average and drove in 23 runs.

Taking the mound this year will be two familiar faces along with two freshmen who are ready to take the places left behind by their predecessors.

Seniors Kim Compton and Rachel Ortiz return to the mound after a great spring where they both finished up with 9-3 records.

Last spring Ortiz allowed only 66 hits in 76 innings of work. Giving up only 16 earned runs all season as she posted a team-leading 1.47 E.R.A.

Compton’s wide variety of pitches were one of the keys to her success as she has both a drop-ball and change-up to complement her dominating fast ball.

Freshmen Sinta Seiber and Kim Waite both look to be promising pitchers for Abrahamson across the next four years as they hinted last weekend.

In game one last weekend against Northern Iowa, Seiber nailed down her first collegiate, though unofficial, win for the Huskies. In game two Waite came in to relieve Ortiz in NIU’s second unofficial win of the season.

Seiber, whose pitches almost always seem to find the strike zone, brings a great rise ball to the Huskies, while Waite has both great drop and rise pitches which she can readily change speeds with.

Abrahamson seems to think her team will finish in one of the top two positions next spring in the Mid-Con Conference with most of the competition coming from DePaul, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Western Illinois.

“We have a big series at home this year and the conference tournament is here. Those two things coupled with our talent level definitely puts us in the top two,”said Abrahamson.

NIU heads off to the University of Iowa for their final game on the fall schedule this year as they take on the host and Illinois State in a three-team tournament.