Spending her freshman year of college more than 900 miles from home gave Megan Overton a deeper sense of who she is and an appreciation for where she’s from.

In July, the former Greenwood softball player transferred to IUPUI after starting her college career at Boston College, and she is much happier because of it.

“It was definitely interesting being away from home and not having the security of having your coaches and family there,” Overton said. “The school itself was amazing. The education amazing. But it wasn’t right for me.

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“Coming home, I’m 100 percent happier. My family can tell. My friends can tell. I would rather be happy. The wins will come.”

The Jaguars took a 4-11 record into their game Tuesday at Illinois.

Overton is the Jaguars’ No. 1 pitcher and leadoff hitter. She’s one of four Johnson County players on the team, along with the Center Grove trio of freshman Maddie Keeley and sophomores infielders Mandy Dallas and Delainey Turner.

Accustomed to trying to get them to ground out, strike out or fly out while she was playing in high school, Overton loves having the ex-Trojans as teammates.

“I’ve also played with (former Franklin Central player) Delaney Thompson,” she said. “Just having them on the field, it’s comfortable. We know each other. We’ve grown up playing softball together, and it’s the best thing ever to look around and have your friends on the field.

“It’s so much fun. We’re best friends on and off the field. Mandy and Delainey Turner were the hardest players to strike out at Center Grove. It’s a lot better to have them behind you than against you.”

The Jaguars’ 17-player roster includes seven who are new to the program — three freshmen and four transfers. All but five players on the team played for Indiana high school programs, with the others hailing from Illinois or Iowa.

Compare this with Boston College, which had players from nine different states on its 2017 squad. Seven were from New Jersey and two from Connecticut.

Earl and Laura Overton were able to make it to only a few of their daughter’s games last season, and not once did Megan play. Things are different these days, with the Jags’ longest possible road trip this season being last month’s tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“Obviously, I missed my family last year, but I wasn’t necessarily homesick,” Overton said. “I just didn’t fit well with the girls there. It was just a different atmosphere. The team dynamic wasn’t necessarily what I needed and what I wanted.”

Now she’s playing, and playing a lot.

Best of all, Overton often does so in front of family and friends. Former Greenwood classmate and basketball teammate Holly Hoopingarner plays for the IUPUI women’s basketball program.

The newness Overton represents in Jaguars’ softball extends to the coaching staff, where Elisabeth Beirne is in her first season.

Beirne is attempting to turn around a program that has one winning season in the past decade and is 136 games under .500 in that time. She’s counting on Overton to be part of that resurgence.

“Megan is a competitor. Right now with the personnel we have we need for her to perform in the circle,” Beirne said. “We are a young team overall, so she plays an important role in our success.

“She’s more of a lead-by-example player, but I think a lot of players around central Indiana know Megan and follow her lead.”

Local connection

Four former Johnson County players are part of the IUPUI softball roster this season:

Player;Pos.;Class;High school

Mandy Dallas;IF;So.; Center Grove

Maddie Keeley;OF;Fr.;Center Grove

Megan Overton;P;So.;Greenwood

Delainey Turner;IF;So.;Center Grove

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at