North’s Rutan commits to Eastern Kentucky

Columbus North’s Maddi Rutan celebrates as she approaches third base after hitting a three-run home run on during their regional final game against Center Grove June 1 at Center Grove High School.

Maddi Rutan established herself as one of the state’s top hitters and pitchers in her first year of high school softball this spring.

The Columbus North junior wanted a chance to do both at the collegiate level, and she figures to get that opportunity at Eastern Kentucky. Rutan recently committed to continue her softball career for the Colonels.

“They said I would be an asset as a freshman and that they see me playing another position and pitching and being in the lineup as a hitter, as well,” Rutan said.

Rutan led the Bull Dogs with a .473 batting average, 15 home runs, 45 RBIs and 36 runs scored as a hitter and went 18-3 with a 1.51 ERA as a pitcher in leading North to Conference Indiana, sectional and regional championships as a sophomore.

“I think she’ll be able to play both positions there,” North coach Ron McDonald said. “She loves playing shortstop and pitching. There’s a lot of colleges that don’t let you do that, but I think Maddi is going to be able to do both there and really excel.”

Beyond that, Rutan enjoyed her experience at EKU on her two camps she attended there, as well as her student visit in March and official visit Sept. 24 for a football game.

“It honestly just really felt like home,” Rutan said.

“I love all the coaches, I love all the players, and they have exactly what I want to do for schooling. It felt like I was meant to be there. It’s almost perfect.”

Rutan plans to major in criminal justice with the goal of becoming a conservation officer. EKU has one of the top police administration schools in the country, and students have to go through police training to be a conservation officer or game warden.

The Colonels are coached by Jane Worthington, who started the school’s softball program in the mid-1990s.

“The have really good coaches,” Rutan said. “(Worthington) is an amazing coach, and their coaching staff is outstanding. I just like their team and how they work and what they do outside of sports.”

Miami (Ohio) also had offered Rutan a scholarship, and several other programs had showed interest.

Rutan currently is in her fall season with her Ohio Hawks travel team. She hopes to be able to lead the Bull Dogs past defending state champion Roncalli, who beat them in last year’s semistate, next spring.

“In high school, it would be nice to get to state,” Rutan said. “We are eyeing Roncalli this year, and I think we have a really good shot with who we have coming in and the people we brought back from last year. I think we have a chance to be really good.”