EIU third basement becomes 'the mouth' that roars
Maria DeVito has a winning attitude on and off the field -- and anyone in earshot should know it.
A summa cum laude graduate of Mundelein High School, the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) third baseman is affectionately known as “the mouth.”
"“We joke with Maria that she’s the mouth and its good having a mouth on your team," softball coach Kim Schuette told the Lake County Gazette. "That’s not an insult but a compliment, 'cause we want her to use her mouth on the field to help make decisions and communicate those decisions once they’re made. She also brings a tough, gritty attitude to the table. We want that toughness, that bulldog, out there on the field, and that’s what you want out of a third baseman. That’s what Maria brings to our team.”
DeVito earned four letters in high school softball plus two for her contributions to the basketball team, and she was a three-time all-conference award winner. During her freshman year at EIU, DeVito played in 14 games and started as a designated hitter in five. Although DeVito only had one hit, she scored three times while maintaining a .389 on-base percentage in her few appearances.
Schuette has been a coach for more than 10 years, and while this is her first year back at EIU, she has an eight-year history with the program.
“Things are going pretty well," she said. "I am pleased with how they have really embraced all of the new things going on this year. With a new head coach and coaching staff, also comes new ideas, a new culture and new way of playing.”
The EIU coaching staff is happy with the bulldog-type player DeVito has become.
"She’s gotten a lot more opportunities this year that she’s earned in practice," Schuette said. "I believe that you earn opportunities to play through hard work and performance during practice.”
Having another left-handed power hitter in the lineup is also something that coaches really like, Schuette said.
DeVito has had to overcome the fact that she did not get much experience as a freshman.
“I think with any hitter, being consistent up to bat is a primary challenge," Schuette said. "We want Maria to continue to work on it because we like the power, and she wants it for sure.”
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