This season was set to be the turning point for University of Illinois junior catcher Shelby Stauffenberg.
The former Bishop McNamara softball powerhouse appeared in a combined 17 games between her freshman and sophomore seasons, including just one start. However, that wall all set to change during her 2020 campaign.
The agricultural business major started 20 of the Illini’s 21 games this year before the season was cut short. Between splitting time as the catcher or designated player, Stauffenberg hit .213 with 13 hits, two doubles, one homerun and 8 RBIs. And on the defensive side, she had 83 put-outs and caught out five stealing all while keeping a .978 fielding percentage.
Despite not being able to make as many memories as she wanted with her squad this season, Stauffenberg’s favorite part of the season was everything that happened behind the scenes.
“My favorite moment of this season is obviously playing with all my girls,” Stauffenberg said. “But behind the scenes, our bus rides that we had just dancing, signing and laughing is definitely what I miss.”
Reminiscing on all the good times she’s spent with her Illinois teammates over the past three years, Stauffenberg couldn’t help but recall her favorite college moment during this time away from her team.
“My favorite moment of my college career was my sophomore year when we were all in our clubhouse and we were told we were going to Kentucky for regionals,” Stauffenberg said.
Since going into quarantine, Stauffenberg has been working out and keeping in close contact with her teammates so she can, perhaps, help lead her team back to another regional next season.
“For me, I’ve been just playing catch with my dad and my sister (former Valporaiso catcher Jenna Stauffenberg),” Stauffenberg said. “The past few months, we’ve had team meetings where we got to see our teammates, and we stay in touch through that.”
Outside of softball, Stauffenberg has been staying close with her family as well. She’s been helping her dad around their farm and playing with her little nephew, Jackson.
Not surprisingly, Stauffenberg just wants to get back to being around the team.
“I miss seeing my teammates every single day,” Stauffenberg said.