A college recruit, Ronnie Craft continues to live up to her name, and nicknames, for Oswego East. ‘I like it.’

Jon Langham/Chicago Tribune/TNS

What’s in a name?

Oswego East’s Ronnie Craft doesn’t dwell on it.

The senior second baseman, the fourth of Sean and Stacey Craft’s six children, just knows she’s happy with her first name.

“I have four sisters and one brother,” Craft said of Donnie, who is six years older. “My poor brother.”

Were her parents hoping for another boy?

“Maybe,” she said. “I just know I’m named after my mom’s dad. His name is Ronald and they tried to turn it into a girl’s name, so Ronnie was it. I like it.

“Everyone always thinks it’s short for Veronica, but it’s not.”

Her teammates, meanwhile, also call her “Wheels.” Her home-to-first speed of 2.6 seconds helped Craft steal a team-high 16 bases in her second year on varsity but first as a full-time starter.

They could easily call her “Hitter” too.

Craft ripped a team-high 54 hits last season batting leadoff for Oswego East. She hit .470 with eight doubles, six triples, two home runs and 25 RBIs. She also had a .500 on-base percentage.

This week, the Wolves travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for a spring break trip.

“Ronnie started off quiet and really worked into her spot,” Oswego East coach Sarah Davies-Dymanus said. “She’s very consistent, and she just works harder and harder and harder.

“She’s so dedicated to this sport and so committed to getting better.”

Craft, who played volleyball from sixth through ninth grade, said softball brings out her competitive side like no other sport.

She credited her brother, who played junior college baseball and pitched at Kankakee, as a big influence.

“He was the one that really drove me because I always wanted to be better than him,” she said. “I was always at his games. I’m 5-11, but I say 5-10.

“When recruiting started, I decided I’d rather do softball in college.”

It prompted even more hard work for Craft, who has played travel softball since she was 8, the last few with the Silver Hawks.

In February, Craft chose from eight offers and committed to NCAA Division II Hillsdale in Hillsdale, Michigan.

“I didn’t want to make a rush decision — I knew I had time,” she said. “I was the last on my travel team to commit. My parents were very excited when I started getting offers.”

Her two younger sisters are junior twins Alyson, who also plays softball, and Samantha, who plays volleyball. They’ve been able to learn lessons from Ronnie.

“I had some at-bats early sophomore year but wasn’t performing well,” Craft said.

She picked it up later in the season.

“Then I was thinking, ‘OK, if you’re hitting good, you’re in the lineup,’” Craft said. “That’s how (Davies-Dymanus) rolls, how she works. I knew I needed to get my hitting together.”

She continued working with her hitting coach of six years in Steven Ball, owner of Fast Ball in Orland Park.

Explaining her approach, Craft sounded like a hitter’s version of Kevin Costner playing the role of pitcher Billy Chapel in the movie, “For the Love of the Game,” who told himself to clear the mechanism before a pitch.

“Every time I go up to bat, I don’t think about mechanics ever,” Craft said. “I just think about, ‘If it’s a strike, I’m hitting it.’ That’s all I think about.”

Often, she’s swinging on the first pitch.

“It was a joke on the team that I averaged one pitch an at-bat,” Craft said. “I just had that mindset.”

She said her work with Ball helped her to become a good contact hitter.

“I’m not gonna hit it out of the park every time,” she said. “That’s not the type of hitter I am. I’m like a doubles-gap hitter, and (Ball) is big on keeping your level plane with your swing.

“A lot of coaches now focus on launch angle, getting down and getting under the ball so you can hit it out. He’s not like that. Keeping a level plan and hitting line drives has gotten me to keep the leadoff position.”

A plan she looks to continue.