SIU softball team ready to once again face tough competition

By Gus Bode

Salukis head to Bama Bash hosted by No. 22 Alabama

Last week, the SIU softball team won a tournament with big names such as Purdue, Mississippi and Kansas. Now the Salukis are off to play in the Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa. Ala., with even more top teams, highlighted by No. 22 Alabama.

Other opponents for the 4-0 Salukis include Western Kentucky and Winthrop, both of which have yet to play this season.


SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said last weekend’s Triple Crown Invitational title was an ideal start to the season even though she is not surprised her team played as well as it did.

“They did exactly what they were supposed to do,” Blaylock said. “They came out there excited and with a lot of energy and played well against some tough competition, but they seem to do that. They like to rise up and play people.”

Junior catcher Adie Viefhaus, who was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week after hitting .571 at the tournament, said one of the best things about playing a high level of competition is getting the recognition that comes from winning those games.

“It’s so exciting to play teams that have big names because we don’t really have a huge name,” Viefhaus said. “But people will start recognizing us when we beat teams that do.”

The Salukis start their run at the Bama Bash title today against Winthrop and Western Kentucky. On Saturday, the Salukis will face host Alabama before playing in the semifinals. The finals are slated for Sunday.

Sophomore pitcher Amy Harre will be taking the mound for the first time since tossing her first collegiate no-hitter against Bethune-Cookman.

Through her first two starts of the season, the preseason All-MVC selection tossed 14 innings, struck out 11 batters and did not allow a single run.


When the team returned to practice on Tuesday, Harre said no one was relaxing after their early success because they know if they do, a repeat performance is highly unlikely.

“We know that we have to come back and set the tone again and practice hard and work hard and know that we got to go and approach every game like we did last weekend,” Harre said.

After this weekend the Salukis will be off until Feb. 28 when Syracuse comes to Carbondale for the inaugural game at the new softball stadium, which was officially named Charlotte West Stadium – Rochman Field Thursday after the SIU Board of Trustees approved the name.

The dedication of the stadium will take place March 1 during the Kay Brechtelsbauer Classic softball tournament. That weekend SIU will once again face tough competition in Syracuse, Iowa State and Northern Illinois.

Blaylock said the team is ready to break in their new home, but first have to worry about taking care of the task at hand.

“We’re so excited about getting on that thing right now and playing on it,” Blaylock said. “We need to get down [to Alabama] and come home maybe 4-1, maybe 5-0, even 3-2 wouldn’t be that bad if we can get that.”

Reporter Jens Deju can be reached at [email protected]