BUFFALO (WCIA) — Daleny Chumbley was hard at work this past summer. Not just in the circle for her travel softball team but online making sure college coaches knew her name.
“I was sending out like four emails to 65-plus coaches a weekend,” Chumbley said. “It was crazy.”
And that hard work paid off. Out of the dozens of Division I who were interested in signing the Sangamon Valley junior, Chumbley committed to play for Illinois. She’s lined up to become the first player in Tri-City/Sangamon Valley history to play at the DI level.
“That’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl, the fact that that’s going to become a reality is huge for me,” she said. “I’m so excited to be able to play the best of the best.”
Chumbley is hoping to bring something different to the Illini staff. Illinois currently has just one lefty pitcher on the roster. With more college teams coveting lefty hitters, having a southpaw in the circle may be the best way to combat it.
“I think having those left-handed pitchers is really important for them to neutralize some of those left-handed hitters,” TCSV head coach Brad Sturdy said. “She can spin it up and out, she throws a little drop curve that cuts this way. She can work both sides of the plate.”
“Seeing the different angle off the hip I think is a big thing,” Chumbley added. “Also everybody says lefties have weird spin. People tell me, ‘Your ball spins crazy!’ That’s huge.”
After her sophomore season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling sports, Chumbley says the biggest difference between her freshman year and now is her confidence.
“I just kind of want to dominate,” she added. “I want everyone to continue to know who I am, and just go out there and win.”
By now her name is well known in the softball community, and that will only continue to grow. The IHSA softball postseason is scheduled to start in June 2, with Chumbley looking to lead the Tornadoes to their fourth regional title in six years.