Eden Lyle was on a mission.
The goal was simple: find a college that would give her a chance to continue pitching at the next level.
The Janesville Craig senior committed to play for Triton College. She will attend the two-year junior college in River Grove, Illinois, with the hopes of landing a spot on the roster of a four-year school by 2022.
“It’s a place where I felt very comfortable when I visited and somewhere that seemed a lot like home,” Lyle said. “I’m planning on going into nursing, so when my two years are up there, I’m going to transfer to a four-year school where I want to not only finish up my nursing degree but continue playing softball.”
Lyle pitched in a limited role for Craig last season but worked hard in the offseason on pitch velocity and location. She turned heads at a winter showcase clinic over the Christmas break. From there, Triton offered her a chance to pitch for the Trojans.
Craig softball coach Kristin Worm said Lyle’s story is a special one. She said Lyle not only dreamed of playing collegiate softball but made it come true through hard work and perseverance.
“It’s kind of a unique story in that Eden didn’t let the fact that she wasn’t getting any offers early on bother her,” Worm said. “She didn’t make any excuses or blame anybody, but instead just kept working hard on her pitching and asking me what she needed to do to get noticed.
“She has a ton of talent and can really dominate when she’s on, but I think there were times where she doubted herself. I suggested the showcase event at Christmas, and she apparently threw well enough there that Triton was interested.”
Besides working hard to achieve a lifelong goal of pitching in college, Lyle simply wanted to get better.
She felt with her pitching, Craig had a chance to be very competitive this season in the Big Eight Conference. The Cougars were 11-13 last season but won four of their last five games and returned several starters.
Worm said Lyle never missed a 6 a.m. practice and was usually the last one to leave during offseason open-gym workouts.
Lyle spent the last several summers playing for the Janesville Cyclones traveling team but is not sure of the status for this summer amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She hopes to play some games before settling in at Triton in August and participating in a limited fall schedule of games that the program is allowed.
“I was really upset at first, because we were all really looking forward to a great season (at Craig),” Lyle said. “But then I realized that I have more seasons ahead of me, so that made it a little easier.”
Velocity was never an issue for Lyle but location was. She hit nine batters last season and knew that was an area that had to be cleaned up.
“Pitcher is a tough position, but one that I really enjoy,” Lyle said. “I worked really hard on my location, where my placement is a lot better now. I feel like I can really hit my spots now. Plus, I’ve added some new pitches.”
New pitches aren’t all that Eden Lyle needed. More than anything, she needed someone to give her a chance to live out a dream. Triton College did just that.