CICERO — Last year, every time Gabby King would take a swing, a pain would surge through her back.
The Morton senior shortstop had two fractures in her L5 vertebrae, an injury King said was as painful as it sounds.
King pitched as a sophomore and was one of the Mustangs’ top hitters her first two years on the varsity team, but pitching is out of the question now. She wouldn’t let the pain stop her though.
Every swing was a credit to her determination to play no matter what.
“Last year she was swinging it and what she would do was stop at contact because she couldn’t rotate her back,” said Morton coach Tom Eukovich.
One time the pain got so bad that she broke down and cried, but she still had to play. The thought of her teammates playing without her was worse than the pain the injury caused.
“I couldn’t really move at all,” King said. “I still kept playing. I had to do it for the team.”
Her numbers dropped a bit, but she was still a valuable piece in the Morton lineup. King wasn’t the only Mustang to be banged up last season and the result was a first-round playoff exit.
Now, King is virtually pain free when she plays thanks to a combination of time and physical therapy. The Mustangs are reaping the benefits after weekend wins over Lyons Township (6-1) and Oak Lawn (9-5) gave them a 5-2 record heading into Tuesday’s game against Lane Tech.
“It will never heal fully, but it doesn’t really hurt at all anymore,” King said. “All the team is healthy, fresh and we don’t have any injuries to worry about so it’s really good.”
King will attend Michigan State next year and plans to play softball on a club team, but first she will finish out this softball season as one of the team leaders.
“Freshman year I always looked up to the seniors and now I feel like one of them,” King said. “It’s crazy to think that people actually look up to me on the team.”