One-Armed Softball Star Shines
I feature Katelyn Pavey of Lanesville, Indiana, this week and next. She and her improbable, feel-good story are well worth the read-and her can-do attitude over the telephone was infectious.
Besides having been born 17 years ago missing her left arm from the elbow down, Katelyn made All-Conference as a junior this year in high school fastpitch softball, batted .411, played centerfield, and helped pitch her team to finish eleventh statewide in Class 1A. She has been receiving interest from some Division I softball coaches.
In a telephone interview, Pavey said, "I've been playing since I was three years old when my dad introduced me to the game and I fell in love with it after that. I used to pitch and play first base, but now I (mostly) play centerfield. I got moved there because college coaches have said outfield would be my best position."
In order to field her position, and after catching a fly ball, Pavey quickly converts her catching into a throwing hand, and does the entire process only .2 seconds slower than an average player catching and throwing using two arms. She said, "The strength I have in my arm makes up for time lost. Most people say they don't even notice (the transfer) because I'm so quick at it."
Besides lettering for Lanesville High School, which finished 2016 with a 14-6 record, she has been on the Derby City (Louisville, Kentucky) Crush traveling fastpitch softball team. At the plate, she uses a 31-inch, 21-ounce bat, which has weight balanced evenly throughout to help her with bat control. She likes playing against teams that haven't seen her before and who move their infielders and outfielders in when she steps to the plate, thinking no way a one-handed hitter could hit one over their heads. Although not having homered yet in fastpitch, Pavey does have what coaches often call "warning track" power, i.e., an ability to reach the fence on a bounce or two.
For the state tournament this spring, Pavey was pressed into service after her team's top two pitchers became hurt. She had to pitch four games, including the sectional championship game. She said, "I did pretty good for not having pitched in four years. That was the furthest (our school) has made it in the state tournament. We lost that game however (10-0) and I pitched through the fourth inning."
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
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