Saturday, June 03, 2006

Three Wins Away

From Northwestern's third national championship in two weeks (if you count the doubles win of Grier and Prousis). Absolutely incredible. Even if NU's run ends tomorrow, which I don't believe it will, it has still been an incredibly successful campaign, the first or second best ever (competing only with Ishikawa's third place team).

Tomorrow's opponent is definately the team Northwestern wanted to face in this situation. Of the three seeds higher than the Wildcats, they had only beaten (or scored runs against) UCLA.

All Northwestern needs to do is win one of two games tomorrow. "Jelly" Selden had a phenomenal game against Texas, shutting them out to only three hits. But her earlier games were very rough. She lost the lead late to Tennessee and had a lot of long atbats with Alabama (although she only gave up one run, a solo shot by the short statured Accetturo, whose grandparents I met in the elevator...good people, they're very proud).

The point is that Selden is beatable. She mowed down Texas, but the Longhorns had arguably the weakest lineup in the WCWS. And we've already seen Eileen Canney and the Wildcat defense stop the Volunteers' number one offense cold (remember, Tennessee had never before had less than 4 hits; yesterday, they had one).

Selden will have a much harder time against a team with power, high averages, and plate patience. I can't say their hitters will have a more difficult time with Canney or Foster than they did Cat Ostermann (who just got a touching standing ovation from the many Texas fans in attendance on this her last collegiate game). When Canney did face the Bruins, the only two hits she gave up were solo jacks...this is a very favorable matchup for the purple clad fans here in OKC (about the same number as UCLA, and much more energetic).

Anyway you look at it, Northwestern has an excellent chance at winning this game. You can't say it will be easy, or sure-fire, since UCLA is supposed to be the best team in the country. But this year, NU is 1-0 against the Bruins, and UCLA has already lost this tournament. I'm confident Dan and Alex will be calling at least two games in the championship.

As for tomorrow's game, Ray and I will have all your coverage, starting with a pregame at 1:45pm, first pitch at 2pm. As always, your only home for Northwestern Wildcat Softball is right here on WNUR 89.3 FM, or Also, with the eliminations today, NU is one of only two radio stations left standing in Oklahoma City, the other being Tennessee. Should Arizona rub them out in the first game tomorrow, WNUR will be the ONLY radio coverage of the Women's College World Series.

Send it in!!!

Now, to take my safari hat, chewed fingernails, and showtunes back to the hotel.

Chatting with 'Cats during UCLA/Texas

While the Wildcats were watching UCLA and Texas under the lights at Hall of Fame Stadium, I had a chance to catch up with some of NU's heroes of the past couple of days

Eileen Canney was unreal yesterday; who called the signals?...
Pitching coach Tori Nyberg

With the 'Cats down 5-4 in the bottom of the 7th, down to their last strike.....
Erin Dyer

Solid defense, and only the 2nd non-SEC HR off of Monica Abbott to give the 'Cats a 2-0 lead over Tennessee...
Darcy Sengewald

We're enjoying UCLA/Texas, and the Bruins are up 2-0 in the top of the 4th...I know UCLA is great, but I DO NOT want to see Cat Osterman (she has given up 2 HR, one of the inside the park variety)

Gettin' Some "Dap"

We've been talking about how many Softball pundits and "experts" didn't feel NU had a chance to go far in the CWS, well after wins over Alabama and Tenn people are staring to talk about the Wildcats.

We're sitting at Hall of Fame Stadium right now watching The Sun Devils vs. The Lady Vols in an elimination contest (Alabama and Oregon State have already been sent home), and I figured since I'm really waiting for the UCLA/Texas LOSERS BRACKET?? GAME (Osterman vs. Seldon..Oh my!) I may as well let you know what some of the "softball message boards" are saying about NU:

"Tammy's the real deal as I just happened to catch that NU game...did you see her backhand a ball from 3rd base and throw the runner out??? INCREDIBLE! I'm a believer"

"the purple cats are hot. The horrible umps couldn't stop them last night, Abbott couldn't stop them tonight"

"Northwestern is the real deal in every way - in softball and in academics. Great job, Cats!"

"I've joined the bandwagon. I'm rooting for the purple to win the WCWS.


Northwestern vs. UCLA/Texas Tomorrow at 2 PM CT, pregame at 1:40. Ray Garcia and Ryan Morton will have the call. Also, the team should be here to watch that UCLA/Texas game, so keep checking back for more audio.

Stay PHresh Wildcat Fans!

Friday, June 02, 2006

More Post Game Audio

Here is Northwestern's post game press conference. Present: Kate Drohan, Kristen Amegin, Darcy Sengewald, and Eileen Canney



Northwestern took down the Lady Vols 2-0 tonight in Round 2 of the College World Series!!! The 'Cats are now 3 wins away from a National Championship!!!

Here are some of the sounds....

Highlights from the big win

Post Game Interview with Jamie Dotson

More thoughts and commentary from the men who called the game, Ray Garcia and Ryan Morton later tonight...

'Cats Win!!

Huge Night of Games Ahead!

Well, we did not get back to our hotel until like 4 AM this morning. That is because after the thriller between Northwestern and Alabama we stayed at Hall of Fame Stadium to watch the game between UCLA and Tennessee to see who NU would play today (Tenn won). The game didn't end until like 2 AM (amazing that a game that might just have this year's NCAA Champion was being played at 2 in the morning). After that game we packed up and headed to an old WNUR Sports favorite....STEAK N' SHAKE!!...Nothing like "S n' S" at 3 AM in Oklahoma City! Be glad that I'm the one writing about this meal and not me.

After a good night's sleep we walked around an area of downtown called "Bricktown" and it was pretty cool. It's just old brick factories that have been converted into restaurants and bars with lots of outdoor tables and such. Now we're just hanging out and getting "RePhreshed" before heading back to the stadium to watch Texas and Arizona and get set for the Wildcats vs. The Lady Vols. That Texas game is going to be fun, Cat Osterman was absolutely unreal yesterday, but when you think about it, Courtnay Foster had a better strikeout/inning ratio last night then Cat did...TAKE THAT LONGHORNS!

I got a message this morning regarding Courtnay Foster's pitching performance last night and it basically said that what we saw was "Vintage Courtnay Foster" and I couldn't agree more. We have been saying that Courtnay Foster showed what we like to call (via Bill Raftery)....figurative ONIONS!

It should be an electric atmosphere tonight at HOF Stadium and a great game between NU and Tenn. The Lady Vols beat the 'Cats 3-2 in their only meeting this year. In that game Tammy Williams (a lefty) hit a lead off HR off of the lefty Monica Abbott.

Pre game show at 7:40 CT and first pitch at 8 PM on WNUR 89.3 FM and I'm sure we'll have some more audio after the game as well, so keep reading.

The Sounds of NU 6 Alabama 5 F (10)!!!

Well, we're just sitting and watching UCLA and Tenn to see who NU will face tomorrow night at 8 PM. Our money is on UCLA, but we shall see. We have been at Hall of Fame Stadium since about 12:30 PM on 6/1 and it is now about 12:30 AM on 6/2. We saw an amazing game! Ray said it all. But here is all your audio:

Erin Dyer's Game Tying Home Run in the 7th (2-2 count, 2 outs, bottom 7th, down 5-4)

Tammy Williams' GW hit in the 10th (5-5, Sengewald on 2nd)

Full Highlights

Interview with Katie Logan right after the game

NU's post game press conference (Kate Drohan, Tammy Williams, Garland Cooper, Erin Dyer, Courtnay Foster, Darcy Sengewald)

That should hold you over for now. I'm still in awe. I have watched this team for a long time and WNUR has covered many games (many dramatic ones), but when you take into account the scope and magnitude of this game, the fact it was on ESPN2, the fact it was in the CWS, the fact it was under the lights, etc. It is by the greatest softball game covered on WNUR. How about a freshman (Dyer) getting the game tying HR, a freshman (Williams) getting the game winning hit, with a Senior (Foster) getting 13 strikeouts in relief and holding the game at 5-5 until the 'Cats won.

...Also, not one NU batter struck out in extras

NU vs. UCLA/Tenn Friday 6/2 at 8 PM (7:40 PM pregame) WNUR 89.3 FM or

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Greatest Softball Game...EVER!!!

I may have only lived for 21 years and I have seen my fair share of sporting moments in person, however, never have I sat through a game like the one I just saw between Northwestern and Alabama. Northwestern won the game 6-5 in 10 innings and yet somehow, the final score was almost meaningless.

Last week against UMass in Game 2 of the Super Regional, Northwestern did everything they could to lose the game. They hit into a triple play, they had a runner picked off, they failed miserably at the plate for 5 innings and their pitching coach was ejected and yet still managed to come back and win the game and eventually the Super Regional. Tonight's game was a completely different circumstance. The Wildcats did make a few mistakes throughout the game, but the umpiring in this game was horrendous and Alabama never let up and still NU was able to keep their focus and win the game.

Great moments in sports are few and far between. Being a sports fan from Chicago, nothing tops the White Sox title from a season ago. Yet, the fact that regardless of what happened in that series, the players are still millionaires makes a difference.

Every Northwestern player from Erin Dyer and Courtnay Foster to Sheila McCorkle and Tammy Williams gave their heart and soul in Oklahoma City tonight for pure love of the game. No money. No shoe deals. No incentives. Just a drive to hoist a national championship trophy, an undying passion for their teammates and maybe the most powerful point of all...PURPLE PRIDE!!!

Tune in for Northwestern's next game tomorrow night at 7:45pm on 89.3 FM WNUR as the Wildcats take on the winner of UCLA/Tennessee. GO CATS!!!



You gotta love post-season Northwestern softball. Bring on the extra innings...

The Journey has Begun!!!

To my right, Dan Platt and Alex Freedman are calling Northwestern's first game here at the 2006 Women's College World Series. To my left, Ryan "Bobo" Morton is chewing his fingernails and wearing the safari hat he stole from an 80-year old man outside the stadium. And in front of me, Northwestern and Alabama are scoreless in the 3rd inning.

This is what it's all about folks. After NU won the 2006 Lacrosse National Title and followed it up with an NCAA Women's Doubles National Title, it's only amazing that NU has the chance to make it a trifecta of championships in one week. Despite the disappointments in Evanston throughout the fall and winter seasons, spring has become the epitome of excellence in Evanston.

I would be doing our devoted blog readers a disservice if I didn't update them on Ryan and my travels to Oklahoma City from Evanston. We departed E-town at 8:30am and pulled into the Oklahoma City Sheraton at 9:30pm. You may think 13 hours in a car is brutal, but let me correct you. 13 hours in a car with a singing Ryan Morton is as bad as it gets.

*In all honesty, the ride was not bad at all. Ryan kept his singing to a minimum.*

We made three different gas stops and one food stop at KFC, which could also be considered a "gas" stop. We drove into the mouth of horrific rain near St. Louis but I must say, the new Busch Stadium is beautiful. We wound through the cornfields of southern Illinous, the forests of Missouri and the plains of Oklahoma and here we are, in Oklahoma City.

Northwestern has now taken the lead 1-0 on an RBI hit-by-pitch by Kristin Amegin. Let's hope this score holds up. Stay tuned to the blog and for complete coverage of the 2006 Women's College World Series.


Wouldn't be NU in the postseason...

Well, even though we are 800+ milies away from Evanston and further from Ann Arbor, rain still seems to follow Northwestern around in the post season. In the bottom of the 5th inning of Arizona vs. Oregon State, the skies darkened, the wind picked up, and then said "skies" opened up and it poured buckets. The game eventually resumed after the rain stopped and the tarp came off the field. We are now in the top of the 7th and Arizona and Oregon State are knotted at 2. We aren't sure how this will affect the start time of Northwestern vs. Arizona. It is about 3:40 and there is still Texas vs. Arizona State to play before our game. Pre game is still scheduled for 5:40 PM CT, but stay tuned to the and especially our blog for updates.

Also, I have to echo Mr. Tilman's sentiments about the Spelling Bee. Ray Garcia and I were discussing this very same topic here in Oklahoma City and I find it unreal that an actual "sport" has been bumped to "the deuce" for SPELLING! (hooray 14 year olds who can't spell words passing out on stage!). Even more messed up?? The National Spelling Bee finals are being broadcast not on ESPN or ESPN2....but ABC!!! ABC loses Monday night football and they get Spelling! great trade off.

That is all for now, McGowan and Hollowell are in a pitchers' duel! Wildcats are mounting a threat in the bottom of the 7th

Programming Decisions

EVANSTON - Greetings from back in wonderful Evanston, IL. The College World Series has begun as Oregon State and Arizona are in the bottom of the third with no score. I'm enjoying watching on ESPN2, but what is very interesting is that the World Series is the secondary programming on the ESPN family today. Beating it out and airing on ESPN? The NATIONAL SPELLING BEE!!! As much as I enjoy watching the nine-year-old spell causerie, (he blew it) somehow I doubt he would come within 15 feet of an Alicia Hollowell rise ball.

Then again, I don't think Hollowell could spell attrahent either. (The 10 year old blew that one as well.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And This is Day 1?

Wow...what a way to start our trip in Oklahoma City. Dan and I are thoroughly exahausted after an action-packed day that has yet to end. Here's the rundown of the day's events...

After we "checked our bags," both Dan and I were lucky enough to be randomly selected to participate in an extended security check. If you have seen either of us, you probably know we're not exactly prime candidates to pose any major threat. Once that uncessary ordeal was complete, we started walking to our gate. Upon arrival, we noticed our gate was more of a Hooverville than place people board planes. People were sprawled out all over the place taking naps and the like on the ground. Needless to say, it was weird.

A couple of hours later we touched down in OKC. After checking into the hotel, we walked to the elevators to go up to our room, and noticed someone was holding an open elevator for us. Turns out it was none other than Tennessee ace and player of the year finalist Monica Abbott. With our first "celebrity" sighting under our belt, we hailed a cab to head over to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Our cab driver turned on the radio as soon as we sat down, only to hear local sports talk radio hosts bantering over--what else--Oklahoma University football. Even though it's June, it's always football season in the Sooner State.

We arrived at the stadium only to immediately see NU Coach Kate Drohan and pitcher Courtnay Foster. (You can listen to Dan's interview with Foster by scrolling down the page.) Dan and I decided to do an audio tournament preview with Sports Information Director Doug Meffley (also below). We watched the team practice, and I gotta say, the coaches Drohan can absolutely rip the ball. Once they were done, we hopped on the bus with the team, and headed over to the Varsity Grill--not to be confused with THE Varsity in Athens, Georgia--for an early dinner. It just so happened that the hour and half we were there was dominated by Northwestern in many ways. Since this was a sports bar, there were many tv screens. One screen had a replay of the women's lacrosse team winning their second consecutive national championship. Another had NU alum Michael Wilbon sporting a Northwestern baseball jersey during his show Pardon the Interruption in order to show his support for the softball team. Once PTI concluded, it was time for Sports Center, anchored by WNUR Sports alum Dave Revsine.

As the servers brought in the food, we noticed someone had ordered a FULL slab of ribs. Who did that plate of ribs go to? Probably the person you would least expect...Coach Drohan! And yes, Coach made all gone.

After a brief stop at the hotel so everyone could change, we headed back to the stadium for the opening cermonies. The festivities got started off with a bang as a cover band made up of officers in the Navy called "Freedom" started rockin' some tunes. After each team was introduced (the Cats introduction is below), former UCLA standout Dr. Dot Richardson gave a couple of inspirational speeches. On the bus ride back, Caryl Drohan jokingly announced to the team that Dr. Richardson would be replacing Barak Obama as this year's graduation speaker. After the doc finished, it was time to announce the player of year. To nobody's surprise, Texas hurler Cat Osterman took home the award for the third time in her career.

Back on the bus after the ceremonies came to a close, we were notified that a Tennessee player came up to a couple of the NU players to ask if Northwestern was located in Iowa. Some might consider this a fair question, but I find it hard to believe seeing as how the Cats already played the Lady Volunteers earlier this season!

Coach decided to come up with a sweet way to end the night by taking everyone on the bus out for ice cream. After already devouring a full slab of ribs only 3 hours ealier, one might think it would be tough to down some dessert. But Coach Drohan was up to the task as she easy polished off the root beer float she ordered. (Please keep in mind Coach actually encouraged us to champion her digestive powers.)

Now we're back at the hotel and we've just been joined by WNUR Sports Directors Ray Garcia and Ryan Morton. They just completed a 13-hour trek on the road that began in Chicago this morning. And Dan and I think we had a long day...

Please check back for more updates, included a picture gallery and possible video footage of today's ceremonies. Remember pregame coverage for the Cats first WCWS game in 20 years begins at 5:40 central time tomorrow. Catch all the action through the airwaves on 89.3 fm or on the web via



Teams were introduced in alphabetical order, and here is the sound of Northwestern's introduction. The loud explosions you here after the introduction are the fireworks that were set off after the announcement of each team. While the 'Cats walked to their seats on the field, a video montage of clips from the season was played on the video board in center field. The music that accompanied NU to the field at Hall of Fame Stadium...Best of You by the Foo Fighters...(my apologies for the poor quality of the mp3, it was tough to pick up the sound from the PA, but i figured it was better than nothing!)

NU's Intro

WCWS Opening Cermonies

Well, we have arrived back at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium for tonight's opening ceremonies. I'm not good at judging attendance, but the festivities haven't started yet and there is a good crowd on hand and more are still coming in. Everyone who walks through the gates gets a souvenir softball. There is live music, team introductions, and the announcement of "Player of The Year" Since this is the point of blogging, when cool stuff happens, I'll be sure to let you know about it. There is scheduled to be a "surprise guest" and we have heard rumors that it might be a performance by country star Toby Keith...we shall see

We may get some pictures up on the blog and and there may be some free video of the ceremonies up on Also, there is an amazing article about NU Softball and Kate and Caryl Drohan up on It's by Graham Hays and here is the link

If you look closely you'll see what I will classify as a "shoutout" to WNUR. More updates to come.

Northwestern WCWS Preview

Take a listen! Alex and I recorded a bit of a preview for Northwestern in the College World Series and their game with Alabama tomorrow (5:40 PM pregame, 6:00 PM first pitch). We had a chance to chat with NU's SID Doug Meffley about what the team has been up to and what they're doing to avoid being overwhelmed and distracted by the big stage of the World Series.

WNUR Sports World Series Preview

The opening ceremonies are this evening, so be expecting more interviews with Northwestern Softball Players!

Greetings from HOF Stadium

Well, Me and Freeds made it to Oklahoma City and right now we are sitting in Hall of Fame stadium watching Texas practice on the game field. Alex is going to recap our trip down and give some other facts, but I wanted to post this interview with Courtnay Foster from right after the WCWS press conference. Here is the link to the mp3.

Also, keep an eye on the blog and later tonight, Alex and I will be posting a preview show of sorts that we will be recording in a few minutes "live to tape" from ASA's Hall of Fame Stadium. We'll get you set up for NU's opening round game with Alabama which is tomorrow evening, pre game at 5:40 PM CT on WNUR 89.3 FM and at We'll also have some other interviews with players up as well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

OKC in the AM

Well, the WNUR sports crew ships out tomorrow morning for Oklahoma City and the 2006 Women's College World Series. Again, our first broadcast is Thursday evening when the Wildcats take on the Crimson Tide of Alabama. First pitch is slated for 6:06 PM Central Time, and our pre-game coverage will begin at 5:40. All games can be heard on WNUR 89.3 FM or at When I was a freshman the WNUR marketing slogan was "Turn down your TV and turn up WNUR." This was directed mostly at NU football fans who could watch the games on TV. Well, I'm bringing it back, all of NU's Softball Games in the series can be seen on ESPN or ESPN2, but WE URGE YOU to turn down those announcers who have not seen this team play once this year, or maybe EVER. We have broadcast every post season game in the Drohan era on top of our Big Ten season coverage, so if you want to feel the excitement of Northwestern Students calling a National Championship run, and want to listen to announcers who know this team inside and out, turn us up. So for this weekend, TURN DOWN YOUR TV AND TURN UP WNUR!

On some other notes, Alex Freedman and I should arrive in Oklahoma City in time to attend the pre-tournament press conference, so we will post audio from it to this blog. Also, keep an eye to the blog and for other broadcasts from Oklahoma City. We may be doing a "joint venture" World Series preview with Alabama Student Radio WVUA, or some other type of preview show from OKC, so keep checking back.

For the seniors who have watched this team since they were freshman, and for others on our staff that have come to appreciate the heart, determination, and character of this group of athletes, this is a very special time. I don't think any of us thought a CWS birth would happen just 5 seasons into the "Drohan Era." Keep reading for updates, multimedia, schedules, etc. and be sure to catch all the College World Series action on WNUR.

P.S. With the group we have going on this trip (Ray Garcia, myself, Ryan "Bobo" Morton, and Alex Freedman) this might be the first and last top to bottom "serious" post of the trip.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Drysdale Field...The Softball Twilight Zone

"You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: Games 2 and 3 of the Super Regionals between Northwestern and UMass at Sharon J. Drysdale Field on Saturday

I know this is over the top, but what went on yesterday in Northwestern's dramatic comeback to reach the College World Series was truly SPECTACULAR. Let's go through some of the craziness.

In Game 2, with the game scoreless in the 2nd inning, The 'Cats had runners on First and Second with no outs when Sheila McCorkle hit a soft pop up to the UMass second baseman. Both Ann Schraufnagel and 2nd and Kristen Amegin at first were wondering of their bases and were both forced out before they could tag up. So yes, a TRIPLE PLAY!

In the 4th inning of game 2, NU Pitching Coach Tori Nyberg was EJECTED for arguing balls and strikes. I have covered a lot of softball and I have NEVER seen anyone thrown out of a game. In softball, the pitching coach for the most part calls all the pitches, so this was a big loss.

In the 6th inning with the 'Cats down 2-0, UMass pitcher Brandice Balschmiter walked 4 NU hitters and then hit Garland Cooper with a pitch (5 "free passes"). The 'Cats plated 2 runs WIHOUT RECORDING A HIT! and tied the game at 2 (RBI walks for Jamie Dotson and Kristen Amegin)

With 2 outs in the top of the 7th, NU got back to back hits by Katie Logan and Tammy Williams to put runners on second and third. Cooper was intentially walked and Jamie Dotson hita 2 RBI double to provide the game winning runs...'Cats win 4-2

Lets move to the thrid game, Brandice Balschmiter came into this series with a 0.70 ERA...In the 4th inning with NU already up 3-0, the 'Cats scored 6 RUNS!!! (They had scored only 4 in the previous 2 games). They had 7 hits in the inning. When the carnage subsided, the 'Cats had put up 9 runs on 13 hits against Brandice Balschmitter, beat UMass 9-0 in 5 innings, and ADVANCED TO THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES!

this is a long post, but to recap the weirdness: 1) Triple play 2) pitching coach ejected 3) 2 runs on no hits with 4 walks and HBP 4) 6 runs in the 4th inning against a pitcher with a 0.70 ERA on the season (9 runs on 13 hits in the game)

Ray, did I miss anything?

Game Time...

Howard and I, and the Northwestern Wildcat women's lacrosse team, have arrived safely at Nickerson Field in plenty of time for the National Championship game, coming up in just under 2 hours.

Keep it locked to WNUR 89.3 FM for the live broadcast, starting at 10:45 AM Central Time. Bring a radio out to the Memorial Day beach barbecue and treat everyone to world class lacrosse and the premier vocal stylings of Howard Tilman on play by play.