Catty's Edwards and Salisbury's Williams make early Division I decisions

Catty's Edwards and Salisbury's Williams are set for Pitt and Penn State, respectively, but not for a while.

Once upon a time, there were Lehigh Valley products sprinkled throughout Division I softball programs.

Temple, under the late Ronnie Maurek a few decades ago, always seemed to have its roster loaded with local kids.

Terri Adams, first as a Temple assistant and then later as Saint Joseph's head coach, always had her share of Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area kids on her teams.

Lehigh's great softball tradition in women's softball began with local talent laying the foundation.

Those are just a few examples of the talent base in this area.

But things run in cycles and in recent years, the Lehigh Valley hasn't produced quite the same number of prospects as it did a decade ago and certainly not as many as it did in the 1980s and 1990s.

Perhaps the trend is about to change again because even though they've got a lot of high school softball yet to play, both Catasauqua's Hannah Edwards and Salisbury's Meghan Williams have committed to D-I programs.

Edwards, a sophomore, has verbally committed to a scholarship from the University of Pittsburgh and Williams, a junior, said she has committed to Penn State.

They'll join Parkland senior Jordy Augustus and Liberty 12th-graders Alyshia Dellatore and Mariah Kondravy on the D-I scene where currently Southern Lehigh's Corrine Ozane (Syracuse) and Northampton's Marly Laubach (Penn State) are making an impact.

"I saw Pitt play North Carolina and that's when I knew I really wanted to play in the ACC," Edwards said. "They have an outstanding softball program with excellent coaches and they have a really great science program and I want to major in exercise science, so it's going to be a good fit."

Edwards said the recruiting process at the Division I level in softball is ramped up to an extreme level. She's even a little late in making her declaration.

"The big schools like Alabama and Oklahoma are already looking at seventh and eighth-graders and girls are committing before they see one pitch of high school ball," Edwards said. "I visited Pitt twice and one visit was during the weekend when they played Notre Dame in football. Getting to be on the sidelines was cool. I like the city, the school, I'm excited, but I know there's still a lot of high school left."

Catty coach Bob Thomas said he's happy the decision is already out of the way for his fleet-footed outfielder.

"There were quite a few major programs interested in her and not only is she a great athlete, but she's also No. 1 in her class academically," Thomas said. "Her father told me that there's six hospitals in the Pittsburgh area and Pitt has affiliations with those hospitals and the professional sports teams. So there's going to be a lot of job opportunities out there for Hannah in her field."

While both Edwards and Williams have put up stellar offensive numbers and area headed for all-league and all-area seasons, many college coaches recruit strictly at the high-powered summer tournaments.

That's where Edwards and Williams have really made their mark. Edwards plays for Lower South Liberty and Williams plays for the New Jersey Intensity.

"We have 13 girls on our team and every one of them is committed to a school," said Williams, who said her decision came down to Penn State and Auburn.

"I played on the Carpenter Cup team last year and Marly Laubach helped to coach it, so I have a good relationship with her and she told me a lot about Penn State. I'm very excited about it."

Salisbury coach Ken Choquette said of Williams: "She's a very good kid and an outstanding player who has not yet reached her potential. Meghan and Thayla Cresswell have been the driving force in our lineup. If Meghan continues to work hard and improve, she's really going to make a difference in college. But we're happy we have her the rest of this year and all of next year."

With a win over Palisades on Thursday, Salisbury was 8-6 overall, 7-5 in the league, and closing in on its first district berth in several years.

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