Crouthamel commits to Penn State softball
Not many athletes get to continue their athletic careers at the Division I collegiate level.
Salisbury’s Lil Crouthamel will get that opportunity next year.
Crouthamel, a senior softball player at Salisbury, recently committed to continue her career at Penn State University as a walk-on recruit. She’ll join former Lady Falcon Meghan Williams when she arrives with the team in Happy Valley.
“It is a real honor to have the opportunity to play Division I softball, especially at such a large school with an exciting environment as Penn State,” Crouthamel said. “This has been something that I have been working very hard towards achieving for a long time.
“Penn State was exactly what I was looking for in a school. I really wanted a big school atmosphere with good academics. When I went for an unofficial visit, I really liked coach [Amanda] Lehotak and her vision for the team. I am really excited to be able to be a part of it.”
When Crouthamel was a freshman and Williams a senior at Salisbury, she thought she had the ability to play at the highest collegiate level. Crouthamel also played against another highly coveted Division I recruit during her high school career in Catasauqua’s Hannah Edwards, and learned a lot from the Lehigh University outfielder.
“We both played outfield, so it really set my goals high,” Crouthamel said. “Seeing her [Edwards] play motivated me to work hard, which helped me get to that level.”
While enduring plenty of success on the high school stage, Crouthamel’s break came during a tournament in the offseason. She attended a softball camp at UCLA back in the summer of 2016, which pushed her towards trying out for a new tournament team that was competing in the IDT [Independence Day Tournament] in Colorado.
“That coach made me feel like I had the potential to compete at that level,” Crouthamel said. “That pushed me to try out for Chaos—a team that participated in this tournament and many other tournaments with high level coaches in attendance. When I made the team it became even more clear that I had potential to get to the Division I level.”
Lehotak took notice of Crouthamel, who excelled in the outfield but also switched to catcher this past season for Salisbury out of necessity, before a trip to St. Louis to play in a tournament.
“Honestly it came out of nowhere and all happened pretty fast,” Crouthamel said. “I didn’t find out about PSU’s interest until after my last game of the fall tournament season at the ESPN Center in Florida at the end of October.
“Time was running out for me to get recruited, but I did not let that effect the way I played that weekend. I knew I could go to a big school to play, but it was all about the coaches needing a 2018 commit this late in the year, and being in the right place at the right time for coaches to see me.”
Crouthamel started playing tournament softball in seventh grade for the Lehigh Valley Patriot Flames. But after much contemplation, and seeing Edwards play for Chaos, Crouthamel decided to try out for a new squad. The rest is history.
She also had interest in a number other schools, including Duke and some smaller Division I programs. But Penn State was exactly what Crouthamel was looking for.
The colors will remain the same as she travels to State College next fall. And Crouthamel, who has always been the type to put the team’s needs before her own preferences, is willing to contribute in any way she can.
“Of course outfield would be my top choice, but I am willing to play any position where I am needed,” Crouthamel said. “I learned last year with playing catcher for the first time ever, that sometimes you have to play a position that you are unfamiliar with or don’t like in order for your team to be successful.”