LAKE ZURICH — Former Lake Zurich third baseman Maria Schroeder, who finished the 2014 softball season with a .593 batting average and 42 RBI for the Bears, is enjoying her final summer before playing Division I softball at Bradley.
This week, she’ll display her talents at the DeMarini Invitational Showcase in Glenn Ellyn, playing for the Illinois Chill Gold 18-U elite travel team. The event includes teams from 21 states, spans five days, and has become one of the country’s top tournaments for recruiting.
Schroeder took time to speak with Pioneer Press Sunday after a trip to Colorado with her Chill Gold teammates.
Q: What’s your most fond memory playing at Lake Zurich?
A: “Driving in the tying run and scoring the game-winning run to beat Fremd in the sectional finals my freshman year. We were down to our last out, and to be able to come up with a big hit against one of our rivals to win sectionals was such a great feeling. I will also remember how much fun our team was. Whether it was our crazy eye black or our pregame dances, we were always having a good time. I’ve had girls from other schools tell me how they wished they had as much fun as we do. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun playing softball and I’m so grateful I was able to end my high school career playing with my best friends who I’ve been playing with since I was 10 years old.”
Q: You played third base for the Bears, but what will your role be at Bradley initially?
A: “I don’t know where I will be playing at Bradley, I’m listed as a utility player but I hope my ability to play multiple positions [3B/1B primarily] will provide me with a good opportunity to earn some playing time.”
Q: What makes you most excited about playing softball in college?
A: “I’m most excited about taking my game to the next level and playing against some of the best players in the country at the highest level. It’s been a dream of mine since I was little to play at the Division I level, and I’m excited that it’s coming true.”
Q: Any funny stories or memories from this season?
A: “I think one of the funniest memories from this year is when coach [Amanda] Rodriguez bribed us with an ice cream party if we ended the game with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. We had always had trouble closing out games with 1-2-3 innings and even though we were up in this game by 12 runs, when Carlee Parsons jumped up and caught the line drive to get the final out we acted like we had just won the World Series. Nothing motivates softball players like free food.”
Q: What was it like to play for first-year Lake Zurich coach Amanda Rodriguez, who already had experience coaching other sports at the school?
A: “It was such an honor playing for coach Rodriguez. It was a little nervewracking not knowing who the coach was going to be going into my senior year, but I was so excited when I heard it was coach Rodriguez. I have known her since third grade when I started coming to the high school summer camps. She has been one of the biggest influences in my life and I wouldn’t be the person or player I am today if it wasn’t for her. She cares so much about her players and seeing how much passion she has makes you want to play hard and win for her.”