H.S. SOFTBALL | Union County's Hendrickson Back After Injury

05/24/2017 06:03 PM

Senior pitcher Evyn Hendrickson’s name was called in the starting lineup for game one of the sixth district tournament; rewind a couple weeks, you probably wouldn’t have guessed she’d be out there.

“She’s one of my best friends and I’ve played with her my entire life and it would have broke my heart if I didn’t get another game with her and I’m so proud of her,” center fielder, Jaci Babbs said. “I mean, if that was me, I don’t know how I would handle it, but she’s a trooper and she had no fear. And hats off to her, because you don’t always know how you’d react in that but I’m proud of her.”

Just over a month ago, Hendrickson took a line drive to the face and was flown to the hospital in Evansville, Indiana.

“I saw it come right off the bat and it was kind of like my body couldn’t react to it and I knew what was about to happen and it just kind of hit me and I couldn’t feel the bones breaking, but it just felt like a bunch of pressure,” Hendrickson explained.

She had what was called a “tripod fracture” in her face. It was so swollen she had to wait a week to get a good x-ray and find out her injuries would require surgery.

“And they put metal plates in, like little millimeter metal plates. I have one right here and like somewhere along here,” she said, gesturing to her cheek area. “This bone right here healed itself, so they didn’t move that much so the bone that healed over it was fine. But they had to pull my cheekbone up, up my face because it was pushed in.”

Hendrickson figured her senior season was over, but just before her injury, she had signed a letter of intent to play softball at Kentucky Wesleyan College. She thought that dream may have been over too.

“I was worried like, would this mess up my eye sight? Because I had double vision for awhile. For about a week and he went in and looked around my orbital wall and they saw a little bit of bone fracture so they put in a mesh plate right under there so that was good to know I won’t have that problem for the rest of my life,” she told Spectrum News.

After her doctor saw a college softball game on T.V. and the face masks some players were wearing (Hendrickson had never worn one prior to her injury and was not the day she was hit), the doctor said she could return just before districts as long as she wore one.

Back on the mound, she felt at home.

“It was relieving to know I could get back into it right where I left off, because usually when you start the season off you’re kind of rusty, I had to get a couple innings in before I shook the rust off but I came back pretty quickly,” Hendrickson explained.

Returning to the field, her teammates said she had no fear; but she did- for others.

“When they put in the third pitcher at the end of the inning and I saw she was pitching, warming up without one [a face mask], I was like ‘man I don’t want to hit one up the middle. I don’t want to see that happen to another girl.’ And she put one on, it’s just relieving, because I know if I was to see something like that happen, and me knowing how its- how, not really painful, but how impact it was on me, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” Hendrickson said.

After pitching seven innings in a 9-1 victory over rival Henderson County, she’s glad she’s back in the swing of things.

“It was nice to know I could get through that fear and come out on top.”

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