ONCE AND FOR ALL THAT PITCHERS CAN HIT BY EARNING MAC WEST POW AWARD
CLEVELAND, OH---When Southern Illinois University cancelled the Brechtelsbauer
Classic, Northern Illinois University's softball team was not sure if
they were going to play at all last weekend. Kathy Dearborn (Geneseo
/ Darnall) is thanking her lucky stars the Huskies joined the Ole Miss
Snowfall Classic as her efforts at the event resulted in a Mid-American
Conference West Division Player of the Week award MAC commissioner Rick
Chryst announced Monday (Mar. 3).
Dearborn exploded at the plate in Oxford, MS, in only three games of action---she
sat out game number one against Drake University. The sophomore batted
.600 (6-for-10) including six hits in her last seven at-bats. Four of
those hits were for extra bases as the Geneseo native blasted two home
runs and collected a pair of doubles on her way to racking up 14 total
bases and a 1.400 slugging percentage. She also drove in five runs while
scoring two more.
"Kathy was just stellar," NIU head coach Donna Martin
exclaimed. "She showed a little bit of power in her bat last year,
so we knew it was there. It was just a matter of bringing it to the plate
and doing it."
Timely hitting was Dearborn's forte throughout the weekend. Against the
University of Evansville Saturday (Mar. 1) night, she capped off a 2-for-3
game with a three-run, seventh-inning homer to left field that gave NIU
an 8-3 lead and all but put the game out of reach.
Sunday (Mar. 2) afternoon, the University of Tennessee-Martin felt the
full range of Dearborn's capabilities as she posted a 4-for-4 day, hit
her second home run of the tournament---third of the season---and came
within a triple of hitting for the cycle. It was also the sophomore's
leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh that eventually turned into
the game-winning run when Elyse Jamrozy (Brookfield / Riverside-Brookfield)
drove in pinch-runner Kara Schuur (Muscatine, IA) to lock up NIU's
8-7 come-from-behind victory over UTM.
In addition to her exploits at the plate, Dearborn also logged 14 innings
of work on the mound and posted an earned run average of 2.50. Her seven
strikeouts and opponents' batting average of .260 helped the second-year
hurler take home two of the Huskies' three wins to move her season record
For the season, Dearborn now leads the team with her .474 batting average,
1.105 slugging percentage, and three home runs. Her three doubles tie
her for the team lead in that category. She has also logged 21 total bases
in only six games, placing her second on the squad behind Lisa Mattke
(Plymouth, IN) who pulls into a tie with Dearborn for second place
on the Huskie RBI charts at eight.
Mattke earned MAC West Player of the Week honors last week, giving Northern
Illinois a clean sweep of the first two loop awards of 2003. Both sluggers
will return to action this weekend as NIU travels to the College of Charleston
Invitational. The Huskies will face St. Bonaventure University, the host
Cougars, and Mt. St. Mary's College Friday (Mar. 7) before closing out
the round-robin against Jacksonville State University at 11 a.m. Saturday
--Copy by Brian Kedzior -30-