Regina’s Dani Devlin much more than a defensive specialist

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Regina’s Dani Devlin grew up playing outfield, but as a freshman she switched to catcher. It proved a fortuitous move.

“I really liked it,” Devlin said. “You can call the plays and see everyone on the field.”

Game management is one of Devlin’s strengths.

“Dani has the ability to get everyone ready in the field,” Regina softball coach Jim Goranson said. “It’s phenomenal how she understands how to play the game.”

That knowledge is evident when Devlin — an All-State player in Class 2A last year — calls the game for Regina starting pitcher Niki Richards.

“She watches how a batter swings or how they set up [in the box],” Richards said. “She knows where to set up for my pitch. It’s unbelievable.”

Devlin, who has committed to play at Miami (Ohio) next year, is just as skilled at managing her pitcher when the need arises for a conference in the circle.

“When I get into trouble, having a hard time, Dani comes out and helps me,” Richards said. “She knows so much about helping me hit my spots.”

Saturday’s doubleheader against Wheaton Academy allowed Devlin to show that she’s much more than just a standout defensive catcher, though.

In the first game — a 14-4 Regina win — Devlin went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two prodigious home runs. The second one went so far over the center-field fence that a couple of Wheaton Academy players returning to the bench after the half inning remarked ‘Wow’ in the dugout.

“I’m a power hitter, but I also like to hit for average,” Devlin said. “I like to step out of the batter’s box and think about [at-bats].”

“She’s a fantastic player,” Wheaton Academy coach Paul Gagliano said. “Those were two no-doubt-about-it home runs. She’s also a great defensive catcher.”

It’s those type of attributes that led to an offer from the Miami (Ohio) softball program.

“I just got back from a visit there,” Devlin said. It’s a great school and they have an up-and-coming program. I’m really excited.”

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