Julia DiMartino felt some pain in her upper right arm while leading Brockport to a second straight Section V Class AA softball championship last spring.
“It wasn’t unbearable,” she said.
So the two-time All-Greater Rochester pitched through it over the summer. “I didn’t want to think there was something wrong with it,” DiMartino said.
But the pain never went away, so in October an MRI revealed a torn labrum and DiMartino had surgery in February, ending the high school career of last year’s Gatorade State Player of the Year.
“It was pretty upsetting,” she said Friday. “I want to go to practices and stuff but I literally can’t do it. It’s too depressing. I’ll go to games, though, to support my teammates.”
The Blue Devils’ season and home opener is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Monday against Victor. They’ll have a new coach calling the shots, too.
Mary Karen Wheat, 35, a former Brockport star pitcher in the mid-1990s, has replaced Chris Carr, who resigned to pursue other interests. In nine seasons, Carr turned the Blue Devils back into a winner, capturing five Monroe County division titles and back-to-back sectional crowns.
They were Brockport’s first Section V titles since Wheat was pitching in 1998. She powered the Blue Devils to four championships in her five varsity seasons.
“I felt sorry for her,” Wheat said when asked her reaction when she found out DiMartino couldn’t play her final season. “I know softball is so important to her. I had an injury in college (at Binghamton) and sitting and watching your teammates play is hard.”
Wheat described DiMartino as the “cornerstone” of the Brockport program. DiMartino pitched the Devils to a 61-9 record the past three years. She shared the top AGR honor the past two years with former Mercy slugger Aidan Falk, who is batting .266 and has six home runs for the fourth-ranked Michigan Wolverines.
DiMartino hopes to return to action by late July or early August so she should be ready for fall softball at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames are coached by former U.S. Olympic hero Dot Richardson.
AGR catcher Shelby Perry also graduated from Brockport. Shortstop Anna Fisher will move behind the plate and senior Taylor Light is the No. 1 pitcher.
“Taylor was ready to take on more innings,” Wheat said.