Softball: Smardo to continue at Waubonsee Community College

Rochelle senior Morgan Smardo will be continuing her academics and her softball career with Waubonsee Community College next year. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle senior intending to study nursing

Rochelle senior Morgan Smardo will be reuniting with both her pitching coach and several of her teammates from the Kishwaukee Valley Storm travel softball club as she continues her academics and her softball career at Waubonsee Community College next year. 

A four-year member of the varsity team at Rochelle Township High School, Smardo has carried the load for the Lady Hubs this season, leading the team in several hitting and pitching statistics including batting average (.467), on-base percentage (.500), slugging percentage (.717), hits (28), singles (19), runs (19) and RBIs (15) as well as innings pitched (75.2) and strikeouts (111). The senior said she intends to study nursing in order to pursue a career in the healthcare industry.

“About half of my travel team is going there so I know most of the girls there and I play really well with them,” Smardo said. “My pitching coach is also their pitching coach and she knows what I do best and where the right fit is for me. It’s a privilege to play the sport at a higher level and it’s what I love to do. Their coach said I will either be pitching or playing center field.”

While Smardo didn’t have a freshman season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she broke out during her sophomore campaign in 2021, earning All-Conference First Team honors in the Interstate 8 after slashing .417/.485/.617 with 25 hits including 16 singles, four doubles, 19 runs and 14 RBIs. Smardo also struck out 40 batters over 28 innings as a sophomore, pitching behind former starter Bella Lodico, who now plays collegiately at Benedictine University.

“Playing at a higher level since my freshman year has helped me improve a lot and it’s allowed me to reach the next level,” Smardo said. “My hitting and pitching have improved a lot. I didn’t feel like I was the strongest pitcher at first, but I think I’m a lot better now and hitting-wise, I’ve moved up in the batting order and recorded a higher batting average. I know Waubonsee is losing a very strong pitcher and I’m looking to be a great pitcher and outfielder for them.”

Smardo was named an All-Conference Honorable Mention during her junior season, where she slashed .311/.391/.508 with 19 hits and 19 RBIs while adding 98 strikeouts over 68 innings from the pitcher’s circle. A two-sport athlete at RTHS, Smardo spent four years with the varsity cheerleading team, earning All-Conference honors four times as well as the RTHS Cheerleader of the Year Award twice and the RTHS Most Improved Cheerleader Award once. Smardo was also honored with the 2022-23 Rochelle News-Leader Scholar-Athlete Award this year.

“I’m super excited that Morgan is continuing her career at Waubonsee,” Lady Hubs head coach Deanna Jacobs said. “Their head coach [Joe Spitzzeri] took over two years ago and the program is doing very well. Morgan is going to fit in with their program well and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes at the collegiate level.”