July 27, 2012

Serious Illness Won't Deter Her

Western Oregon Next Stop for WNC's Melanie Pfeiffer

Former Wildcats softball player Melanie Pfeiffer won’t let a serious illness stop her from attaining her dreams. After graduating this spring from Western Nevada College with an Associate of Arts degree, she will to continue her education and softball career at Western Oregon University, an NCAA Division II school in Monmouth, Ore.

Pfeiffer, a Reno resident, has undergone two surgeries since being diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in the spring. But with her unflinching drive and positive attitude, she expects to be ready to resume softball-related activities in the fall.

Pfeiffer said she knew right away that the Western Oregon coaching staff cared more about her as a person than as a player. "The coaches at Western Oregon were so caring and helpful,” she said. “They called me after my surgery to make sure I had everything I needed."

To strengthen her right arm for the 2013 season, Pfeiffer said, Western Oregon has offered its facilities for her therapy. "That's really cool for them to do that for me," she said. "I'm hoping to be back in the fall. I'll work as hard as I can. My main goal is to play and to get this taken care of."

Pfeiffer was instrumental in helping the young Western Nevada softball program to its best season to date. The Wildcats won 21 games with the sophomore shortstop providing leadership and consistency in the field, and from her No. 2 hitting slot.

“She brings heart, work ethic and a love of the game,” said WNC Assistant Softball Coach Rosie Contri. “She never takes a day off, and inspires people around her by her work ethic.”

The 2010 Wooster High graduate started all 62 games and was fourth on the team with a .320 batting average. Pfeiffer's 65 hits in 206 at-bats were third-best among the Wildcats, and her three triples tied her with Taleas Marble for the team lead. The left-handed hitter also cracked seven doubles and knocked in 22 runs. Her 78 total bases and 40 runs scored ranked third on the team.

The versatile Pfeiffer also gave the Wildcats' three regular pitchers a break on the mound, throwing 11 2/3 innings in three appearances. At shortstop, she had 301 chances, making 92 putouts and recording 186 assists.

Pfeiffer was recognized by Scenic West Athletic Conference coaches, being named to the All-Region 18 second team.

Now, she is headed to a program on the upswing. The Wolves won 15 of their final 20 games in 2012 to finish 23-26 overall and 19-17 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

“It’s a great opportunity for Melanie,” Contri said. “She really enjoys the coaches, they know about her condition, and they will help her. But the most important thing is she gets to continue to play and further her education.”

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