Huntley's Teagan O’Rilley was shocked when she learned that her verbal commitment to NCAA Division I Wisconsin Green Bay would no longer be honored after women's softball coach Scott Wachholz was let go after his third season.
O’Rilley committed as a sophomore, and the Red Raiders third baseman didn't explore many other options before finding her perfect fit at Green Bay.
“At that point, I had been committed for a year and a half,” O’Rilley said. “I was so happy and so content with where I was at. When I got the news that (Wachholz) was let go, it was a big shock. I was a little lost for a little bit.”
O’Rilley, who will be a senior in the fall, reopened her recruiting and it didn’t take much longer to find a new fit. After going to a skills camp at Butler University in Indianapolis last month, O’Rilley committed to coach Scott Hall and the Bulldogs earlier this month.
O’Rilley also had interest from Winona State, Loyola and Western Michigan.
“I was a little worried I wouldn’t’ find a school I loved as much as Green Bay, but the school blew me away,” said O’Rilley, who plans on studying actuarial science at Butler. “It’s beautiful, it has a great campus, and it has great academics.
“The camp was amazing, and I loved how (Hall) coached everyone there. He had multiple ways of explaining things, he was calm and well spoken. I thought he really commanded the field and team very well.”
O’Rilley was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team pick in the spring, breaking Raiders' records for home runs (15) and walks (31) in a season. She hit .430 and added 12 doubles with 40 RBIs and 39 runs.
The Raiders finished 35-7, winning their last 19 games, and won the school's first state championship with a 1-0 win in eight innings over St. Charles East in the Class 4A final.
O'Rilley said her power-hitting style matched well with what Hall was looking for in his recruits.
"He liked the passion I played with," O'Rilley said. "They're trying a new philosophy where they are trying to get the ball in the air, because the game is kind of moving toward doubles, triples and home runs. Small ball and slappers are still prominent, but there are a lot of hitters getting the ball in the air and really getting it out there."
Butler finished 16-32 overall and 4-12 in the Big East last season. O'Rilley is most looking forward to the new relationships she'll form.
"The people and teammates I get to meet for the rest of my life, and just the experience of college, traveling and playing all of those amazing schools is what I'm most excited about," O'Rilley said.
O'Rilley will be one of five returning seniors next spring for the Raiders. Huntley graduated five, including four starters, from its state championship team.
O'Rilley and the Raiders will still have big goals.
"I’m just hoping to go out there and have a great senior year, a fun senior year," O'Rilley said. "I can't wait to see what great things everyone can do and hopefully we can make it back to state."