Niles steals one from Chieftains

Published 2:15 pm Friday, May 14, 2004

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Two teams that are perhaps headed in opposite directions met Thursday in a pivotal Big 16 Conference West Division doubleheader at Vella Park.
Niles, which has shown steady improvement so far this season, split a doubleheader with No. 10 ranked Dowagiac, a squad which has scuffled the past week or so.
The Lady Vikings (12-5, 3-3) took the opening game 2-1, but dropped the nightcap to the Chieftains (22-5, 4-2), 7-0.
Dowagiac led 1-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth when Niles scored the winning runs.
Kater singled with two outs to drive in Schrader and Gibson.
Niles pitcher Kari Eckstein made that lead stand up with the help of some outstanding defense.
Dowagiac outhit Niles, 7-3, but could not come up with the big hit when it needed to.
Eckstein struck out four and walked two in earning her seventh victory in nine starts.
Niles hits came from Cara Frucci, Eckstein and Kater.
Brittney Reist took the loss for the Chieftains despite tossing a three-hitter with two strikeouts.
Offensively for the Chieftains, Sarah Luthringer doubled twice and Reist once. Dowagiac also got three singles from Kim Luthringer.
In the second game Dowagiac totally dominated the Lady Vikings, who according to their coach fell flat.
Ashley Willis tossed a three-hitter for the Chieftains with six strikeouts and no walks.
Kater (5-3) took the loss for the Lady Vikings with relief help from Frucci in the sixth.
Offensively for the Chieftains, Kim Luthringer and Amy Wood had two of the Chieftains' 10 hits. Each starter in the Dowagiac line up had at least one hit.
Niles' three singles came from Ashton Parks, Kate Whittaker and Kater.