White Rock Renegades ‘02 catcher Lauren Benson (left), has signed a letter of intent to play softball next year at the University of Connecticut, while teammate Amanda Pillkahn (right) has signed to play with the Odessa College Wrangers in Texas. (White Rock Renegades Instagram photos)

Pair of White Rock Renegades commit to U.S. softball programs

Lauren Benson to play at University of Connecticut; Amanda Pillkahn at Odessa College

A pair of White Rock Renegades have inked college scholarships stateside.

Last week, Semiahmoo Peninsula resident Lauren Benson signed a national letter of intent to play with the University of Connecticut Huskies, beginning in September 2020. Her NCAA commitment came just a week after one of her former Renegade teammates, Amanda Pillkahn, signed her own letter of intent to play with the Odessa College Wranglers in Texas, in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

This year, UConn is in its first season playing in the NCAA’s Big East – one of the country’s top athletic conferences.

Both Benson – one of the top catchers in Canada for her age group – and Pillkahn, a pitcher, were members of the White Rock Renegades ’02 team coached by Ted Birdsall, who was most recently honoured by Softball Canada as coach of the year for his work with the Renegades’ 2004-born squad.

Since 2017, Benson has also played at the Abbotsford-based Yale Secondary Softball Academy under head coach Dave Paetkau.

Prior to Yale, Benson attended Elgin Park Secondary.

Benson, an eight-year member of the Renegades, helped the ’02 squad to both provincial and national championships in 2016, and was named top catcher at the latter tournament.

This past season, she was a part of the U19 Canadian Junior National Team – alongside Renegade teammates Katie Korstrom and Emma Dorval – that won bronze at U19 world championships.

“Lauren will bring versatility to our program behind the plate and in the infield,” said UConn head coach Laura Valentino in a news release announcing the signing.

“She has also competed at a high level with the Canadian Junior National Team and takes tremendous pride in her work behind the plate. I look forward to seeing Lauren bring her work ethic and love for softball to our program.”


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