Lake Braddock freshman pitcher Patty Maye Ohanian has yet to suit up for the defending Patriot District softball champions, but she’s already been coveted by colleges for her pitching prowess.
And after a terrific summer and fall travel ball showing, Ohanian has given her oral commitment to the University of Illinois.
The Fighting Illini coaching staff first saw Ohanian pitch a shutout as a member of the Vienna Stars 14-U softball team at the Premier Girls Fastpich Nationals Championships in Huntington Beach, Calif. They saw her again at a fall showcase in Edison, N.J., and made an offer to the right-handed pitcher.
“They liked her competitiveness and the way she went out on the mound and was never fazed,” Vienna Stars 16-U Coach Dennis Wince said.
Initially, the offer was slightly less than a full scholarship, so Ohanian kept her recruitment open with Stanford, Northwestern, Virginia and California showing her interest.
But after seeing her pitch several times during the fall, Illinois upped its offer to a full athletic scholarship.
“I took my unofficial in September and it was a beautiful campus; it looked like a classic Big 10 school,” Ohanian said. “There were Fighting Illini banners everywhere, and Champaign is a big college town.”
Ohanian has an array of pitches at her disposal but said she’s most comfortable with her rise ball and drop curve. She wants to improve her screwball in order to work better inside against right-handed batters.
“I don’t feel like I have to live up to something, but I have to represent the University of Illinois and my travel team.” Ohanian said. “I want a good reputation when it comes to those standards.”
Ohanian’s commitment is a part of an upward growth of spring sports making younger athletes a priority. Wince said Ohanian is the youngest player he’s coached to orally commit to a university.
Ohanian also swings a good bat and can play first baseman on her days off. She hit .400 as she split time between the Vienna Stars 16-U and 18-U team. She plans to major in communications once she enters the university in the fall of 2017.