The Keystone junior not only does a bit of everything on the diamond, but she does them all sensationally. It’s no wonder the National Fastpitch Coaches Association selected her as one of the top 80 high school players in the country.
Consider this: As a sophomore in 2007, Dill pitched four games, including three shutouts, one no-hitter, one perfect game, struck out 55 in just 34 2/3 innings and recorded an ungodly 0.40 ERA.
And that’s not even her primary position.
No, Dill is far too valuable as a shortstop to pitch full-time. The first player in Keystone history to earn first-team all-state honors as a freshman and sophomore hit .522 last season with six doubles, six triples and a team-high 19 stolen bases. She was virtually flawless at short, committing only one error in 103 chances for a sparkling .990 fielding percentage.
Not a bad follow-up to a freshman year in which she batted .504 and established a school record with 58 hits. It’s no wonder she’s already receiving attention from such Division I schools as Alabama, Ohio State and Purdue.
“She puts so much focus into her hitting every day,” says Keystone coach Jim Piazza, who guided his team to the Division II state title in 2006. “She takes it very seriously.”
Dill is certainly doing something right – on the mound, at shortstop and at the plate. And she stresses that she doesn’t even care where she plays. Other sports in which she has participated have bored her at times, but no matter where she is on the softball field, she feels comfortable and content.
“There’s so much variety in playing softball,” she says. “I get sick of things easily, but softball is always able to keep my attention. I played basketball and golf my freshman year, but I enjoy softball more than the other sports. I’m not big or strong enough to play basketball. Everyone else on the basketball team was huge. So softball is just more realistic for me.
“I love all of it. It doesn’t make a difference if I’m pitching or in the field. Whatever is best for the team and gives us the best chance to win – it doesn’t matter where I play.”
That has been the reality for Dill since childhood. From the moment she began playing organized softball, she became keenly aware of her improvement in all aspects of the game. But only recently has she discovered the role that best fits her as a teammate. And as a junior, she has developed a sense of leadership that also suits her.
“I try to set an example by my actions,” she says. “I’m not a big vocal leader, but I think I can show others the right things to do. I’m not the type of person to get into other people’s faces, but I like to lead by example by not drinking and not getting into the party scene. That’s not going to do anything for myself or my teammates. I hope I can influence their lives through that.”
Dill is participating in a program at Lorain Community College that will allow her to finish two years of college courses by the time she leaves Keystone, which will eventually lessen her workload and allow her to concentrate more on softball.
Her ambitions in softball extend far beyond the high school fields. She not only yearns to play in a major Division I program, but one that is capable of winning the College World Series.
“I want to go as high as I can go,” she says. “I want to play with and against the best competition I possibly can. As long as I can get along with the players and coaches, that would be the best thing ever.”
Those players and coaches will certainly agree, especially if Dill continues to pitch, hit and field as well as she has in a Keystone uniform.