By DION MARTORANO Journal & Topics Sports
The Rumble in Rosemont was a success, despite some harsh winter weather outside, as the Dome at the Ballpark in Rosemont withstood the snow and saw some great college softball action last weekend.
The Rumble featured the University of Illinois (5-0 at the Rumble), Western Illinois (4-0), Central Michigan (3-1), Eastern Illinois (2-3), IUPUI (2-3), Loyola (1-3), University of Illinois-Chicago (1-4) and Drake (0-4).
It was a special Friday through Sunday for six players in the tournament who returned to the area to play again after graduating from local high schools in recent years.
EIU players Stephanie Maday (‘10 Elk Grove alum) and April Markowski (‘12 Leyden) both returned to an area they are very familiar with, especially Markowski who hails from Rosemont.
The University of Illinois had two Journal-area alums on the field in Allie Bauch (‘12 Conant) and Dana Sullivan (’12 Leyden). So did Loyola with Jessica Balzano (Des Plaines native, 2011 Elk Grove alum) and Lauren Zaworski (’10 Fremd).
Bauch did well over the five games she played going 6-for-19 with 6 runs and 5 RBI. Sullivan saw limited playing time over the five games.
Balzano also saw limited time, but scored the only run for Loyola in their loss to Illinois.
Zaworski struggled slightly getting just 1 hit in 9 at-bats, but had 1 run and 1 RBI.
Markowski had 5 hits over the five games with 2 hits each in the games against IUPUI and Western. She collected 2 runs and 2 RBI in the tournament.
Maday (1-1 record) pitched in games against UIC, IUPUI and WIU and allowed just 13 hits and 5 runs in 14.2 innings. She allowed only 4 hits and 1 run over her final 8.1 innings.
“It is really nice,” Maday said of playing close to home. “A lot of people can come to watch that don’t typically get to watch. It is a really nice facility to start out with.”
It was even more exciting for Rosemont native Markowski.
“It is awesome, I actually live in Rosemont,” Markowski said. “It is nice that all my family and friends can come here. My friends usually can’t travel because they have school, but now they can see me play finally.”
Maday’s former high school teammate Balzano also enjoyed the experience.
“It is just an awesome experience for everyone and to be close to home…it is really good,” Balzano said.
For the girls to play next to the Chicago Bandits pro softball stadium in Rosemont was also a joy.
“I grew up always wanting to come to their games and to actually be playing where they do is pretty awesome,” Balzano said.
Markowski played on the same field as the Bandits while at Leyden. The Dome was under construction in her final year with the Eagles.
“It is cool and special,” Markowski said. “Our home field was the Bandits Stadium and we saw them building this and thought it would be cool to play there. It is nerve-racking, but it is a cool experience, especially playing in here.”