April 17, 2008
CHICAGO (AP) -Northern Illinois and Notre Dame took the field Wednesday night at the White Sox’s ballpark to raise money for an NIU memorial scholarship fund.
Notre Dame won 5-4 in front of about 4,600 fans at U.S. Cellular Field in the fundraiser for NIU’s Feb. 14 Scholarship Fund, established in the name of five students fatally shot at a lecture hall on Valentine’s Day by a gunman who then killed himself.
“I’ve got a lot of friends at Northern Illinois,” said Will Harford of Chicago, a Notre Dame sophomore infielder. “For everyone involved – the families and the people who lost loved ones – it’s really important to give them as much as we can and if we can do that by playing a baseball game, that’s great.”
The Chicago White Sox offered use of their home field and Northern Illinois and Notre Dame quickly agreed to a game.
“For the Sox to offer up their facility and the take the proceeds from this and give it to that scholarship fund is incredible,” NIU coach Ed Mathey said.
“We’re (still) in the process of healing and part of healing is getting stronger,” said Mathey. “And our baseball team is trying to do our part.”
NIU catcher Justin Behm, who lives in Downers Grove, said NIU students appreciated the support that poured in from people off campus.
“The whole situation was tough … but the support around Chicagoland and even around the nation was great,” Behm said. “You don’t ever want something like that to happen. In light of everything that happened, it’s good that we can get out there and show our support and play for the better cause.”
Wednesday’s game also took place a year to the day after a student gunman fatally shot 32 people at Virginia Tech before killing himself.