Softball Competes in Final Fall Tournament; Hosts Alumni Sunday
Sept. 21, 2007
NORMAL, Ill. - With an offense that has outscored opponents 56-16 through nine games of the fall season and a pitching staff that has a combined earned-run average (ERA) of just 1.33, the Illinois State softball team takes a high dose of momentum into its final competitive weekend of the fall tournament season. On Saturday, the Redbirds will travel to Kirkwood, Mo., for the Reverse Exposure Tournament, where they will face Saint Louis at 1 p.m., followed by Eastern Illinois at 3 p.m. ISU will conclude its fall slate with its annual alumni game Sunday, where it will welcome 13 alumni back to Redbird Softball Complex for a 1 p.m. game.
Illinois State has an 8-1 record through nine games in its fall tournament season, after picking up five wins over two days last weekend. On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Redbirds used seventh-inning heroics to score victories over Western Illinois (3-2) and Heartland Community College (5-4) at Redbird Softball Complex. The Redbirds then traveled to the Chicagoland Fall Classic in Orland Park, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 16, where they secured a 4-1 win over 2007 Women's College World Series participant DePaul, along with victories over Kirkwood Community College (11-0) and Indiana (9-2).
Head coach Melinda Fischer is looking forward to her squad's final competitive action of the fall season, as she and her staff continue to evaluate the progress of the Redbirds.
"We're going to continue to put some different combinations out on the field this weekend," said Fischer. "We need to see some things in the circle from our pitchers that we have not seen this fall. We're looking to improve every time we get on the field and see what happens."
Saint Louis was 29-33 last season, including a 12-8 mark at neutral sites. Despite having a losing record, the Billikens made a surprising run to the Atlantic 10 Conference championship game, eventually losing, 9-3, to Massachusetts. Saint Louis opened its fall season last Sunday (Sept. 16) with victories over Illinois-Chicago (3-2) and Moraine Valley Community College (14-1).
Ohio Valley Conference member Eastern Illinois was 23-31 in the spring, with a 5-8 record on neutral turf. The Panthers return 13 players from last year's squad, with three newcomers in the fold. ISU and EIU hooked up once last spring, with the Redbirds suffering a 6-2 loss to the Panthers May 1 in Charleston, Ill.
Sunday's alumni game will mark the return of 13 former Illinois State softball players to Redbird Softball Complex. Included in this group of former Redbird softball greats are seven all-Americans, including Emily Krueger, Shannon Nicholson, April Schermann, Kate Stake, Heather Stella, Cutie Taylor and Priscilla Welch-Delaere.
Fischer expects the ISU alumni game to be a highly competitive matchup, while also serving as a learning experience for her current players.
"Our alumni game has typically been one of the most competitive games that we have in our fall season," said Fischer. "A lot of that has to do with bragging rights, especially after our undergraduate squad won last year's game (4-3). The alumni team is without a few players that have participated in past years, but I don't think that is going to slow them down.
"The game itself is a great opportunity for both our young and old players to see what our program has been about and to get to know some of our alumni, both on and off the field. It serves as a great opportunity to share stories about Illinois State softball."
Admission is free to Sunday's Illinois State softball alumni game.