Hannah Perryman had a memorable softball career at Elgin High School.
And the hard-throwing left-handed pitcher is wasting zero time creating plenty of additional memories at the next level.
Perryman, a freshman pitcher at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the honorary captain of the Daily Herald's 2012 Fox Valley All-Area team, has already broken the program single-season record for strikeouts.
She recently had 20 strikeouts in a doubleheader sweep of Rockhurst that gave the team its second Great Lakes Valley Conference title in the last three years.
The 20 strikeouts pushed Perryman's total to a program single-season-best 299. She bettered the former mark of 298 established by Ally DeFosset in 2009.
She heads into this weekend's GLVC league tournament with a 21-5 record with a 1.46 ERA. She has 9 shutouts (including a no-hitter) and 2 combined shutouts. She's allowed only 90 hits in 168 innings of work and has the 299 strikeouts against 64 walks. Opponents are hitting an anemic .154 against her.
"I'm really surprised with all the success I've had," Perryman said. "It's kind of weird to pick up where I left off last year. It's been nice and it's been a lot of fun."
Perryman set the Elgin High single-season strikeout record (342) and the career record (840).
Perryman credits UMSL coach Brian Levin with helping her progress so quickly at the collegiate level.
"Coach has really helped me make my pitches do the things they need to do," she said. "Practice has helped. My changeup was not very good last year and now I can throw it for strikes. We do a lot of work on pitching and defense. Pitching every day and working on it every day helps a lot."
Perryman noted her riseball continues to be her bread-and-butter.
"The riseball is my go-to pitch. It always has been my No. 1 get somebody out pitch," she said.
Levin said Perryman's variety of pitches serve her well in the circle.
"Hannah has the rise and curve that allow her to throw on the horizontal and vertical planes," he said. "When she starts these pitches on the same plane, it makes it very difficult for a hitter to make good pitch recognition. By the time they figure it is coming in on them as a right-hand hitter or away as a left-hand hitter, or going up in the zone, it's too late. She also has enough velocity that when she does make a mistake she can get away with it on most occasions."
The step up from high school to college is something Perryman said has been an ongoing challenge.
"We play a lot of good competition," she said. "We've played some amazing teams. Honestly, I didn't expect to do this. Girls in college hit the ball a lot harder than they do in high school. I've had a couple of shots hit back at me where I've gone, 'Oh my gosh.' I didn't experience that in high school. The college game is very different. Honestly, I didn't expect this. It's been kind of cool."
Perryman stressed another key factor in her success has been the players on the field with her.
"It's been our defense," she said. "I have an extremely good defense behind me. We don't make a lot of errors and that way I can pitch my game and pitch how I know I can and not worry about having to get extra outs. Our offense hits the ball and we score a lot of runs. So if I give up a run, it's not a big deal because I know we will score more."
Perryman hasn't been paying particular attention to her statistical performance this season.
"Getting the record is pretty cool," she said. "I didn't expect to do that freshman year. The girl who set it the first time is a really good pitcher. I didn't know I had set it until they announced it after the game. I don't keep track of stuff like that. Coach said it and I thought, 'Wow. I didn't think I could actually do it and then I did.' "
Perryman admits she had some nerves at the beginning of the season.
"I had some rough spots," she said. "In college if you miss even a little bit they will hit the ball out of the park or they will hit it right back at you. It's a lot different from high school. In high school, if you miss a spot, it's really not a problem. Now, you can't make mistakes or you will get hit really hard. It was difficult in the beginning, but now I have the hang of it."
Levin is a big fan of Perryman's competitiveness. "She has such a competitive spirit," he said. "Even as a freshman, she does not get intimidated. She has the attitude and demeanor that she will not be beat."
There are two specific games this season that stand out in Perryman's mind. She threw a no-hitter earlier in the season, but points to a recent game against Drury as one that has additional significance.
"They rocked me in the game I pitched against them the first time on the road," she said. "They hit me all over the place (5 hits in 4 innings). When we played them at home I had 18 strikeouts. That really stands out in my mind. I came back and I didn't let them get in my head. It gave me a boost of confidence. I didn't have any confidence after pitching against them that first game. Being able to do well against them the second time was neat."
Perryman, who plans on playing for the Indiana Slammers women's team this summer and will coach the St. Charles Comets 13s team as well, is studying criminology at UMSL.
"I'm not too sure exactly what I want to do yet, but I do want to go the criminology way," she said.
UMSL opens conference tournament play Friday against Quincy in Peoria.
Winters at Valparaiso: St. Edward alum Brad Winters helped the Valparaiso University men's golf team reach the NCAA tournament for the first time.
Winters recently shot a final-round 76 to finish tied for 14th at the Horizon League Championship at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. Winters finished with a total score of 228 and benefitted from 3 birdies on the back nine during his final round. Valparaiso won the Horizon League title by 4 strokes over Cleveland State.
Valparaiso will play in one of six NCAA regionals Thursday, May 16.
Bee at Whitewater: Nick Bee was part of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men's track 1,600 relay team that earned the school's Wal-Mart men's track athletes of the week honor recently. The 1,600 team finished second by 29-hundreths at the Augustana Meet of Champions last weekend. The team's 3:15.43 time is first in the conference and fourth on the recent NCAA Division III honor roll.
Lundeen at Valparaiso: Streamwood product Dalton Lundeen is a pitcher on the Valparaiso baseball team. Lundeen recorded an impressive win recently, throwing 6 2/3 innings against nationally ranked Arizona State on the road in Tempe, Ariz. Lundeen struck out three and walked two in Valpo's 8-6 win.
Off at College wants your help: Send statistics and/or information on Fox Valley-area athletes playing collegiately to Mike Miazga at email@example.com.