BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Standout Elk Lake softball pitcher Brooke Darling has committed to attending NCAA Division I Columbia University in New York.
Darling, 17, pitched two perfect games last season and multiple no-hitters while bolstering a 0.14 earned run average as she compiled more than 200 strikeouts.
In 2010, she was named to the Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association All-State second-team for her efforts, and was also the Scranton Times-Tribune Player of the Year.
Darling said that Columbia first had their eye on her after watching her play in a tournament last year.
She was interested in the program, but said that she wasn’t sure if her grades would be strong enough.
However, after visiting the Manhattan campus, she said it was the perfect fit.
“I’m really excited about going,” Darling said. “They just built a new softball complex and are putting a lot into their program.”
In addition to Columbia, Darling had interest from Bucknell, Bloomsburg, Kutztown and Moravian.
Darling, who plans to study chemistry as an undergraduate student with hopes of attending graduate school for pharmacology, said that she most looks forward to the quality education Columbia can provide.
The Ivy League Lions, led by head coach Kayla Noonan, went 15-32 overall last season, but Darling said that the team is improving.
“I went and saw a game this fall, and they looked good,” Darling said.
And Darling said she hopes to help the team get better.
But first, Darling has some unfinished business to attend to on the Elk Lake pitcher’s circle.
After a 3-0 loss to Nanticoke in the District II Class AA championship last year, Darling is looking to give it another shot this season.
“We’ll take it one game at a time this year,” Darling said. “But we’d definitely love to make it back to playoffs, and states.”
Darling will also have one more season with the TC Tremors Gold 18U travel softball team out of Binghamton, N.Y., before heading to college.
She also plans to continue training with pitching coach Dan DeMarco from Rock N’ Fire Softball near Reading.