Back in the game: Indian Creek pitcher returns after injury

Last softball season was over before it even started for Dori Knight.

While at a pitching lesson just prior to the start of her junior campaign at Indian Creek, Knight’s rubber shoe sole stuck to the rubber mat and she felt a pop in her knee.

At that point, she didn’t know anything was wrong — yet.

“I had no idea,” Knight recalled. “All I know is I heard a pop, and I sat down, and I got back up and ran to the plate and ran back. And then I decided I was going to pitch again, and then I pitched again and it popped again — and that’s when I knew that there was something wrong.”

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A torn anterior cruciate ligament left Knight, who had been expected to be a potential ace for the Braves’ pitching staff, sidelined for all of 2016.

That didn’t sit well with Knight, who posted a 2.96 earned-run average and struck out 50 as a sophomore while also batting .410 with 15 runs batted in.

“That was probably the hardest thing ever, especially since I’ve been playing since I was 5 years old,” she said. “Not playing a whole season is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. … It was just really hard to watch.”

What made it harder was that an Indian Creek club that came into the season with high expectations limped to a 9-14 record, finishing with a 9-8 loss to Greencastle in its sectional opener.

Knight’s road back was a long one; she wasn’t released by her doctor until nine months after the injury.

“I understand why he did that,” Knight said. “He did not want me getting back too soon, and he didn’t want me to push as much as I would have pushed myself.”

Clearly, Knight was eager to get back to action — and her 2017 debut was a good one. Facing Scottsburg in a tournament at Bedford North Lawrence on April 1, she helped lead Indian Creek to a convincing 16-2 victory.

Coming back in that fashion, Knight said, “was fantastic. … Winning that game and being on the mound felt amazing.”

Though her second start, a loss to Greenwood, didn’t go quite as well, Knight is looking for big things during her senior season.

“My goals for our team are to win county this year, to win our conference and win sectionals,” she said. “I think we can do it.”

No matter how the year turns out, Knight is grateful for the chance to be back in action.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.