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Kate Rehberg had always wanted to pitch at a Power Five school.

The Millard North senior is going to get that chance at Indiana. Rehberg announced her commitment to the Hoosiers earlier this week, and with it came a lot of excitement and a little relief.

"I'm ecstatic that it worked out the way that it did," Rehberg said. "It does feel like a pressure has been lifted off my shoulders in searching for the next four years of my life. I think once the option did present itself, it was an easy decision, and I'm really excited about it."

Rehberg had taken visits to Virginia Tech, Tulsa, Kansas and Drake before traveling to Bloomington, Indiana, this past weekend. She wants to go into business, and Indiana has one of the nation's top business programs. And, of course, it's a Power Five program.

"I had not yet decided until I had gone there," Rehberg said. "They definitely stood out to me among my options just because it's Power Five and Big Ten. I was hoping I'd like it when I went there. Once I met the coaches, met the girls … I knew."

Rehberg's excitement in committing to Indiana is fueled by some adversity she had to overcome in recent months.

The hard-throwing pitcher and one-time Michigan commit began dealing with back pain during summer ball, and it was affecting her performance in the circle.

"(Michigan coaches) came and watched and weren't very happy with my performance," Rehberg said. "I'll admit, I wasn't pitching very good. So they reopened my recruitment and two months later we found out the extent of my injury."

X-rays revealed a stress fracture in the lower back. Rehberg tried to give it a go for Millard North in August, appearing in the Mustangs' first handful of games, but the pain was too much. Doctors said she needed to rest.

"It was pretty tough," Rehberg said of sitting out her senior season. "Being a leader as a pitcher, the team is looking to a leader and it was really hard to have to sit. I wanted to pitch for the team, and I wanted to do it for everybody and make it to state."

When healthy, Rehberg could dominate in the circle. She struck out a whopping 303 batters in 197 1/3 innings as a sophomore and followed with 321 Ks in 183 2/3 innings as a junior. The two-time first-team Super-Stater led the Mustangs to three state tournament appearances and a Metro Conference Tournament championship. 

In addition to halting her senior year, the back injury also put Rehberg's recruitment on hold, which isn't easy for a player entering the final season of high school.

"Looking for these scholarships, they (college coaches) want to watch you pitch, and I wasn't pitching," she said. "I had to put a little bit of a pause on recruiting and then pick it back up in the fall."

As for the back injury, "I feel good now," said Rehberg, who pitched in some fall tournaments with Iowa Premier Gold. "It's all cleared up."

The back is good. And so is Rehberg's future.

"I am incredibly grateful to Indiana," she said. "I don't think it could have worked out any better."

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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