By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
MOOREVILLE – David Richey stood just outside Mooreville High School’s covered pitching shed and watched his daughter warm up.
He liked what he saw – Teri Richey’s smooth and uncomplicated right-handed, under-armed delivery.
He also liked what he heard – the distinct high-velocity pop of the ball smacking the catcher’s mitt.
“She’s lucky to be pitching this year,” he said. “It surprised me. It usually takes a year after having surgery.”
Teri Richey, a junior for the Lady Troopers’ fastpitch softball team, suffered a labral (cartilage) tear in her right shoulder joint last season. The injury required surgery in June.
Last year was her first full season on the mound. She compiled a 14-5 record with a 1.63 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 122 innings pitched. She was the only pitcher to beat eventual 3A state champion Nettleton. She struck out seven and four-hit the Lady Tigers in a 4-2 Troopers’ win.
“When she stepped on the mound, she was in charge,” Mooreville coach Perry Wilburn said when she was named to the Daily Journal’s 2011 All-Area Fastpitch Team.
Fighting through pain
What makes Richey’s 2011 season even more impressive is the fact that her shoulder hurt the entire time. “It bothered me at the first of the season,” she said. “But, I didn’t tell anybody until the end.”
At the end, things went fast, Wilburn noted.
“She struck out 13 in a Thursday game, then we went to Winona on Saturday and I had to pull her,” he said. “She was hurting.”
Richey is back on the mound this spring, where she has compiled a 7-1 record after a win against Corintgh last week. She trusts her repaired and rehabilitated shoulder, but wonders if she’ll regain the velocity in her pitches.
“It’s frustrating,” she said. “I’ve gone from being so good to not so good. I’m not throwing as hard as I used to. I think (the injury) affected my speed the most.”
Mooreville student assistant coach Laura Mitchell, a former pitcher for the Troopers, said she is pleased with Richey’s comeback.
“She’s working hard to get back to where she was,” Mitchell said. “She has the talent to be even better than she was last season.”
Richey was clocked in the low 60s last year. She hit 59 mph on the radar run last week.
“She’ll get faster, but we just don’t want her to overdo it,” David Richey said.