The Wasco Diamonds reconvened after a two-week break Wednesday to gear up for fall ball, and there was plenty for the girls to chatter about.
A flurry of college commitments in the past week and a half from Diamonds players – five of the six from area players – made for a festive reunion.
“It’s been great, and really fun,” St. Charles North junior first baseman Abby Howlett said. “It’s always exciting when someone comes to practice and shares news that they committed, and everyone is happy for them. Having a ton of people commit is really exciting and good.”
Howlett made one of the biggest splashes among the Diamonds, a highly regarded travel softball program. The left-handed hitting slugger committed Tuesday to Northern Illinois, the school her father, Mike, attended.
A pair of Diamonds alumni – including Kaneland graduate Delani Vest – play for the Huskies, who advanced to the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game last season. Howlett said she grew fond of the program while attending camps in DeKalb over the years.
Howlett had a dynamite sophomore season for St. Charles North, batting .510 and driving in a team-leading 39 RBIs while earning Kane County Chronicle First-Team All-Area honors.
She continued to wield a dangerous bat this summer for the Diamonds’ 16U team, coached by Bill Morrow.
“The summer went pretty well,” Howlett said. “We got first in 18U Metro [at Elgin Sports Complex] as a 16U team, so that was good, and then we went out to California and Colorado and those tournaments were a little bit more tough, but overall I thought we had a good season.”
Kaneland senior outfielder Lexi Roach is another Diamond who made a Division I commitment, choosing Youngstown State. Roach played for the Diamonds’ 18U team this summer.
Roach’s 18U teammates included St. Charles North’s Mickey Goetz and St. Charles East’s Haley Beno, both of whom recently opted for Olivet Nazarene. Beno, now a senior, was the top pitcher this spring for the IHSA Class 4A state runners-up Saints, and followed teammate Sarah Collalti’s commitment to Olivet Nazarene earlier this offseason.
Another Saint, slugging first baseman Kate Peterburs, was also among the recent batch of Diamonds commitments, picking Wisconsin-Parkside. Morrow said Peterburs likely will play third base in college.
Downers Grove South’s Jessica Andree was the other Diamond to make an August decision, selecting Division-I Belmont (Tenn.).
Morrow, president of the Diamonds organization, is gratified by the program’s success at funneling players into college softball.
“Our program is getting better and better about being invited to special exposure events,” Morrow said. “We went from a travel program that was about just getting the kids out there and playing competitively to being a travel program that our main objective is to help these kids with their college tuition, get them into schools and having them be able to play the game they love while they’re getting a good education.”
Morrow’s daughter, Burlington Central pitcher Angie Morrow, committed to Wisconsin last year, while fellow Diamond and Central standout Bekah Harnish will be a college teammate of Howlett’s at NIU.