The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

Softball wins big in Florida

KISSISMMEE, Fla. ‘- While many of their classmates are partying it up during Spring Break, the Northern Kentucky University softball team is enjoying a successful week of action.

As of Thursday, March 12, the Norse have gone 7-3 while at the Rebel Spring Games, including five regional victories ‘- Saginaw Valley State (twice), Ferris State, Tiffin, and Wheeling Jesuit.

In recent years, NKU has struggled at times in the pitching circle but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Kissimmee. Sophomore hurlers April Ehlers and Chelsie Roy have combined for a 7-3 records in 69 innings pitched with 33 hits allowed, 13 runs, 10 earned runs, 76 strikeouts, and 25 walks.

Ehlers turned in one of the best pitching performances in Norse history as she fanned 18 Dowling Golden Lions in a 7-0 victory. The 18 punch outs set a school record in a seven-inning game and were just two off the Division II record, which was set on March 14, 1987, by Dori Stankewitz of Florida Southern.

Roy has also turned in masterful performances in the circle, giving up a grand total of one run in three complete game victories.

Day 1 ‘- The Norse opened the Rebel Spring Games with defeat at the hands of defending Great Lakes Region champion Ferris State, 5-2. In the second game of the day, Ashley Gates led the Norse at the plate with a 1-for-3 performance against Saginaw Valley State including a two-run triple to right-center in the bottom of the fourth to give the Norse pitching staff a cushion.

Day 2 ‘- Tiffin University was a last-minute fill-in for Fayetteville State University and it may be one decision the Dragon coaching staff might want back as NKU downed Tiffin, 3-0, in Game 1 action. Shatona Campbell notched her first home run of the season in the top of the sixth and added a double in the second. Roy turned in the first of two shutouts during the week as she went all seven innings striking out six while allowing no runs on six hits.

Game 2 saw Minnesota State push across the eventual game-winning run in the top of the seventh in the form of a home run down the left-field line off the bat of Abby Morris and held on for a 3-2 victory.

Day 3 ‘- The first game of the day saw the Norse take an early 5-0 lead and hold on to a 5-1 victory over Concordia University of Minnesota. NKU was led at the plate by Amanda Smith and Rose Broderick, each of whom had two runs batted in. Smith went 1-for-2 at the dish with the two RBIs and two walks while Broderick went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs, and a run scored.

In Game 2 action, Ehlers was not only a star in the circle but at the plate as well. Ehlers, a native of Greenville, Ind., turned in an 18-strikeout, shutout performance in the circle to go along with 3-for-4 outing at the plate with two runs scored and two doubles in a 7-0 victory over Dowling.

Day 4 ‘- The first game of the day saw masterful pitching performances by NKU’s Ehlers and Saginaw Valley State’s Jade Fulton. NKU was able to pull out a 2-1 victory in extra innings after SVSU took the lead in the top of the eighth. Jessica Farris scored the game-winning run as the throw to first base was muffed after Stephanie West’s sacrifice bunt attempt.

Experience in the 2009 season proved to be too much as NKU lost the second game of the day to a Palm Beach Atlantic squad that was playing in its 31st game of the season as opposed to NKU’s 14th. PBA pushed a run across in the bottom of the fourth and that was all Ashley Jones would need en route to a complete game shutout victory for the Sailfish.

Day 5 ‘- Cara Parker blasted her first homerun of the season as NKU downed Wheeling Jesuit University 6-1 in the first game of the day thanks in large part to a five run fifth inning. Ehlers (6-4) struck out 12 Cardinal batters – her third double-digit strikeout performance in as many games ‘- and had her no-hit and shutout bid perished at the same time in the top of the sixth when Vanessa Ilovar homered to center field.

NKU (10-6) was able to get some revenge on Ferris State from a defeat earlier in the week with a 5-0 victory ending the Bulldogs’ perfect season. Gates, a freshman from South Bend, Ind., drilled her second home run of the season on the way to a 2-for-4 performance that included two RBIs and two runs scored. Roy (4-2) hurled her second complete-game shutout of the week allowing just two hits while striking out eight Bulldog batters.

NKU will conclude their stay in Kissimmee with two games on Friday, March 13, before flying back to Northern Kentucky and then promptly boarding a bus to Quincy, Ill., to take on Quincy University in their first games of the Great Lakes Valley Conference portion of the schedule.