Dec. 23, 2008
Just months before the start of the 2009 season, Butler University softball coach Jeanne Rayman added a couple of talented prospects for her 2010 squad. Promising high school players Jenny Esparza of Avon High School an Meaghan Sullivan of Wheaton Warrenville South (Ill.) High School both signed letters of intent to join the Bulldogs in 2009-10.
"Jenny and Meaghan are both outstanding young women," said Rayman. "They have dedicated themselves to becoming great softball players, but more importantly they have placed an equal amount of importance on their success in the classroom. We are very excited that they have chosen Butler University as the place to continue their educations and softball careers."
Esparza, a two-time first-team All-State performer, is one of the top prospects in Indiana. She boasts a 50-9 record as a pitcher with over 800 career strikeouts and just 12 earned runs allowed. She had 407 strikeouts as a sophomore, which tied the fourth-highest single season total in Indiana high school history. The talented hurler also posted the fifth-best earned run average in state history with a 0.08 ERA in 2008. And she was equally lethal with a bat, posting Indiana's fifth-highest single season total for doubles (17).
"Jenny is the type of pitcher who can make an immediate impact on our success in 2010. She has proven herself at the top level of both high school and summer travel play," stated Rayman. "Jenny is not only an outstanding pitcher, but also a gifted hitter. She will be competing for a hitting spot in our lineup, quite possibly even when she's not pitching. I look forward to her attaining a very high level of success quickly at the Division I level."
Esparza, who holds school records for strikeouts in a game, season and career, is a three-time all-conference and all-area performer. She was named to the Indianapolis Star Super Team twice and was named Indianapolis Star West Player of the Year as both a sophomore and junior. She's a two-time Hendricks County Flyer Player of the Season, two-time all-county pick and two-time team MVP. She's batted over .400 in each of her first three seasons at Avon.
Sullivan, an infielder and pitcher, is a two-time DuPage Valley Conference all-conference and academic all-conference selection. She earned her high school team's Best Offensive Player Award as both a sophomore and junior, after being selected junior varsity Most Valuable Player as a freshman. She further was named MVP of the inaugural DuPage Ultimate Softball Tournament in September of 2008.
"Meaghan is a true utility player. We look for her to compete for playing time at a couple of infield positions, as well as in the outfield," said Rayman. "Sully really rises to the occasion. Fundamentally, she is very solid, and she had shown great softball playing instincts offensively and defensively. She has a great field presence."
Butler opens the 2009 season on Feb. 20 at the North Texas Sleep Inn Classic in Denton, Texas.