She secured a scholarship to Division II school Black Hills State in South Dakota last fall, but since an elbow injury in February, Canyon View softball pitcher Savannah Eckhardt had her future flashing before her eyes.
But after six weeks of recovery time, the senior is back on the field for the Falcons as they make their push for the 3A state playoffs.
Although Eckhardt is playing at first base for now, Canyon View head coach Kyle Delange said her presence will make a difference.
“She gives us leadership and a glove at first base,” Delange said. “Until we get her arm healthy, we want to get her worked in (to the lineup) so we can use her at state.”
Delange said Eckhardt has only resumed throwing in the last week, but wants at least one more week and possibly two before declaring her ready to return to the circle.
“I’m feeling fantastic,” Eckhardt said. “I can be on top of my game by the postseason, so that’s good. Right now, I’m going to help the team out wherever I can.”
Even though the injury — one described as “a compressed nerve that caused numbness and tingling” — gave her pause over possibly losing her scholarship, Eckhardt praised Black Hills State head coach Amy Gurney for her help along with the treatment.
“My coach was really supportive and we knew the doctor would handle (the treatment) well,” Eckhardt said. “I feel awesome.”
With the Falcons in a tight battle to make the 3A playoffs, Delange said today’s matchup at home against Cedar starts the push and execution will make the difference.
“We gotta execute, we gotta hit, and we gotta field ground balls,” Delange said. “Timely hitting needs to come through. That’s why we played the non-region games, so we could piece that together and help ourselves out.
“Our goal is to try and win out, but it only comes one game at a time.”
Having Eckhardt back in the lineup as she returns to full strength will only help.
“Obviously we don’t want to injure her arm any more,” Delange said. “Once she gets healthy, we’ll use her as a pitcher again.”
Delange said Eckhardt is throwing “70 pitches a day” at this point, and the goal is to have her ready to pitch in time for postesason play that starts May 11.