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updated: 9/12/2012 9:21 PM

Bowen goes on the offensive, and NIU notices

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  • Grayslake North's Jordyn Bowen, left, tries to tag Grayslake Central's Caitlin Flary during Class 3A regional semifinal play last spring at Antioch.

      Grayslake North's Jordyn Bowen, left, tries to tag Grayslake Central's Caitlin Flary during Class 3A regional semifinal play last spring at Antioch.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer


Jordyn Bowen ignored a Jordyn rule.

In her book, it all starts with defense.

"I love defense," said Grayslake North's star shortstop, who's also a pesky guard on basketball courts. "If there's a ball, that's my ball. I'll go get that ball."

When looking at potential colleges, the defense-first Bowen, whose dad, Tim Bowen, is one of the best defensive-minded hoops coaches in Lake County, went on the offensive.

She took a swing at Northern Illinois University, pursuing the Division I softball program as aggressively as she does a slow-rolling 10-hopper.

The Huskies swung back. And, ultimately, they connected with the athletic Bowen, who verbally committed to the DeKalb school. The 5-foot-4 bundle of defensive energy plans to sign a national letter of intent in November.

Following the high school season last spring, she spied NIU at a travel tournament.

"My (Chill Gold travel) coach Gerry Quinn helped me," Bowen said. "He was like, 'I think you should email them. They got a new head coach (Christina Sutcliffe).' So I kept emailing them, kept emailing them."

NIU eventually came to see Bowen play in a tournament in Elgin last month.

Knowing her work ethic, speed and top-rate defensive ability, NIU saw the lefty-swinging Bowen hit the ball the opposite way with authority.

"That game, I switched to a lighter bat and ended up getting 2 doubles in one day, and I think that really got them (interested)," Bowen said. "That weekend, I ended up going to NIU to visit."

There, she says she fell in love with NIU, including New Residence Hall, a $60 million facility that opened this fall.

"I'll be staying in it," Bowen said excitedly.

She's interested in studying business or finance, and is as excited about the possibilities of earning internships as she is about being a Huskie. She said NIU's plans are for her to patrol the outfield.

"I love the coaches," said Bowen, who also drew an offer from Division II Saint Leo in Florida. "That's what really got me."

Bowen has batted leadoff for Grayslake North the last two springs, after starting on varsity for Grayslake Central her freshman year. As a junior, she hit .476 with 9 doubles and 5 triples. She can bunt, slap and hit the ball with power to the gaps.

This past spring, she also helped lead the Knights to a Class 3A sectional championship and supersectional berth -- at NIU.

Marengo wound up ending Grayslake North's best season ever.

"When we were going to play there (on NIU's softball field), I was like, 'Hmmm, I probably should email the Northern Illinois coaches and tell them like, 'Hey, come watch me play. I'm playing on your field,' " Bowen said. "But I decided I'll just go play, have fun and relax. It ended up working out well."

The defense rests.

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