Twenty-Two Softball Alumnae Return to Campus Sunday
Sept. 26, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - Before any team can move forward, it often needs to take a look back at its history to see where it has come. The Illinois State softball team will do just that Sunday when the Redbirds play host to 22 softball alumnae for the team's annual alumnae game at 1 p.m. at Marian Kneer Softball Stadium.
The group will feature 22 former Redbird softball players: Andrea Shifflet, April Schermann, Katie Guilbault, Kate Stake, Bridget Fournie, Kelsey Warning, Amy Ehret, Jackie Williams, Tiffany Prager, Nicole Rule, Tricia Gaither, Jennifer Brown, Rachel Shipley, Cutie Taylor, Serena Cruz, Shannon Nicholson, Nicole Kurth, Stacy Birk, Katie Newman, Priscilla Delaere, Heather Stella and Kerri Bartlow.
Among those 22 former ISU softball players, eight were All-Americans, including: Fournie, Kurth, Nicholson, Schermann, Stake, Stella, Taylor and Delaere.
The Illinois softball team's alumnae game is traditionally a hotly contested affair, as the Redbirds' current crop of student-athletes battles it out for bragging rights against its elder brethren.
"The alumnae game is by far one of the most competitive games we play all year," said Illinois State head coach Melinda Fischer. "The alumnae want to come back and show our current players that they still have some skills out on the field, and they definitely give our players a challenge.
"It's really important for our program that our alumnae come back every year and play against our current players. All of our former players meant so much to our program throughout the years, and they really help to show our current players what it truly means to be a Redbird softball player and a student-athlete at Illinois State."
Last season, a steal of home by former Illinois State All-American Heather Stella was the deciding factor in the Early `Birds taking a 5-1 victory over the 2007-08 Redbirds. In 2006, a leadoff home run by then-sophomore Jessie Buker in the bottom of the sixth inning sealed a close, 4-3 victory for Illinois State over the Early `Birds.
ISU is 2-3 during its current fall exhibition season. The Redbirds are coming off a 2-2 record at last weekend's inaugural State Farm Illinois Collegiate Softball Championship. After splitting the first day of competition (W, 2-0 vs. Northern Illinois; L, 7-4 vs. UIC), Illinois State was no-hit by Eastern Illinois' Amber May in a 4-0 loss to the Panthers in Sunday's first game of bracket play. In the Silver Bracket consolation game, freshman Becky Baltikas went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBI to lead the Redbirds to a 2-1 victory over Bradley.