CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (WKBN) – Local softball standouts Avrey Steiner and Addy Jarvis, both juniors at Illinois, have a lot in common, and it all starts with their life-long love for the sport.
“It really has shaped me,” Steiner said. “I know that everything I talk about somehow comes full circle and it comes back to softball.”
“I feel like, when I’m 50, I’ll be playing slow pitch for fun,” Jarvis added.
The talented tandem grew up playing as teammates in travel ball, then as competitors in the high school ranks.
Steiner was an infielder at Lakeview while Jarvis was a pitcher at Hubbard and then Mathews.
The on-field success of the Valley natives eventually led them to become teammates again. They’re currently Division I student-athletes at Illinois in the Big Ten.
“It’s really cool because we have seen each other grow from the beginning, literally from year one,” Jarvis said. “My year one of travel ball was with Avrey. So, I think that’s something that is really neat. Even when we are seniors and we’re heading out of here, the fact that I’m ending with the person that I started with is pretty neat.”
“No matter where we came from, we’re still at this place where we wanted to be at the end,” Steiner said. “It shows that there are other athletes from where we’re from or similar town structures. You can be a small-town kid and end up somewhere big.”
Both are excelling on the big stage. Steiner enters this weekend’s action as second in the entire Big Ten in hits with a team-high 38. She also leads the Illini with a .369 batting average.
“I’ve been fortunate to stay even-keel through it all, get some good at-bats in there and kinda have that average without me experiencing some really, really bad days, which is really hard in a game like softball or baseball. So, I’ve been really proud of that,” Steiner said.
Meanwhile, Jarvis ranks in the top 10 in the Big Ten in fewest earned runs allowed and is second on her team in wins and strikeouts.
“I think that kinda goes back to that chip on our shoulder,” Jarvis revealed. “We’re meant for this. I think that’s the best thing about being here at this level. The thing that I’m most proud of is just showing that this is where I’m meant to be. This is where Avrey is meant to be.”
Both of them haven’t forgotten where it all started, with their softball roots back home in the Valley.
“I was just super excited to have another person from the 3-3-0 area code here,” Steiner said. “Also, just showing what kind of players can be made from our area.”
“The support that we have gotten from afar has really made this all worth it. Going forward, people, look out, because we’re gonna be doing some big things and we’re hoping you are watching,” Jarvis added.