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Hometown Hero: LaSalle’s Darien McDonough making history

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COVENTRY, RI (WPRI) — This week’s Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses Hometown Sports Hero is Darien McDonough.

The LaSalle All-Stater and R.I. Thunder alum is on her way to California to take part in the Premier Girls Fast Pitch High School All-American Game, the first New Englander chosen to participate since the event began in 2016. Softball stars Jennie Finch and Crystal Bustos will be among the coaches for the East and West teams and the game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

“I’m really excited, and it’s a huge honor,” McDonough said. “And it’s such a prestigious event. I’m blessed to be a part of it.”

The trip a testament to the hard work she’s put into building her skills on the diamond.

“I think three years ago, when she was a Freshman, she was a slap hitter and we had a talk and didn’t think she was fast enough to be a true slapper,” said Thunder coach Dave Lotti. “And if you see her now, she’s a true power hitting, left-handed, center fielder. And we’ve had her play some first base for us, so she’s very versatile. She’s a master at whatever you put in front of her. She’s going to master it.”

Darien will have a few weeks off after her trip before heading to Boston College to join the other four recruits in the Eagles Class of 2025. Her travel experience over the last few Summers preparing her for the transition to ACC, a league that saw five teams make the NCAA Tournament.

“It will be a challenge, but I’m super fortunate to play for the RI Thunder for as long as I have because I’ve been playing against the best of the best, since I was 14 years old,” McDonough said. “So, I’m super pumped. It’s going to be so much fun, and I’m just looking forward to competing out there.”

“Well, I know she’s going to put in the work,” said Matt Hopkins, owner of Hop’s Athletic Performance. “And that’s all you can ask of an athlete, making the high school to college jump. She knows it’s going to be a challenge, but I think she’s up for it and will be ready.”

If you have a Hometown Sports Hero you’d like to nominate, email sports@wpri.com

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