Marshall does her job, becomes first pro softballer from Naperville
Sammy Marshall is the first pro softball player from Naperville, and her approach has always been straight-forward and simple.
“I just did my job and got here,” Marshall told the Chicago Tribune. “I never really thought, ‘Oh, I’m (going to be) the first softball player from Naperville.'”
A 2011 graduate of Naperville North, Marshall earned her professional stripes in 2015 when she was drafted by the Chicago Bandits after starring at nearby Western Illinois. As the Bandits starting center fielder, she’s gained a national reputation for making spectacular catches, including one that was featured on the espnW Top Ten highlight reel last week.
Not bad for someone who grew up watching the Bandits play their home games and dreaming that she might someday become a part of the mix.
“I think I kind of slid under the radar a little bit,” she told the Tribune. “Naperville North was a good softball program, but they never really won the (DuPage Valley Conference) or had gone to the state championship. Western Illinois is not a Power Five school.”
Even as an all-state selection at Naperville North, Marshall was not highly recruited. At Western, she was a four-time all-conference choice, earning the school career records for batting average (.456), stolen bases (134) and runs (168).
As the Bandits (19-1) won their first 16 games this season, she hit .433 (26-for-60) with five stolen bases, three home runs, nine RBIs and a team-high 18 runs.
“Every year you play the game kind of slows down a little bit,” Marshall said. “I’m seeing the pitchers for the third year in a row, so I think I’m finding my niche, and being more comfortable in the box has helped my game elevate to where it is right now.”
The soon-to-be 25-year-old star said she plans to play “until my arm falls off or they tell me to hit the road.”