After being told last season that she may never play softball again, Cara McCarthy continues to defy the odds in her softball career.
The Western Nevada College infielder and Bishop Manogue High School graduate announced on Saturday that sheâ€™ll continue her education and softball career at Nyack College, an NCAA Division II school in Nyack, N.Y.
â€œI was in talks with two different schools, both in New York. I was trying to go back East because that is where Iâ€™m from,â€ McCarthy said.
McCarthy came back from two surgeries to repair a fractured left elbow and torn ligaments during the 2013 season to play from the outset of the 2014 season. She has appeared in 41 of the Wildcatsâ€™ games this season.
â€œCara has worked incredibly hard, after adversity last year with an injury, to get back into the game. Her perseverance and determination has really helped her get back on the field this year and also pursue the opportunity to play next year,â€ said WNC coach Leah Wentworth.
McCarthy couldnâ€™t help but smile as she signed her letter of intent at home plate following the Wildcatsâ€™ regular-season-finale at Edmonds Sports Complex on Saturday. Spectators, teammates and coaches stayed put to watch McCarthy realize a goal that she set for herself a long time ago.
â€œThat has been my main goal since I was a freshman in high school,â€ said McCarthy, who plans to study criminal justice.
McCarthy said she was motivated to play in 2014 after Wentworth made a suggestion about her playing future.
â€œLeah came to me in the fall and said I should consider redshirting,â€ McCarthy said. â€œOnce she told me that, I was motivated to get out there. I wasnâ€™t about to let that happen. Day in and day out, even just running, I worked harder as much as I could, just to get where I am.â€
Today, sheâ€™s comfortable with where her recovery is with her surgically repaired elbow.
â€œEven to this day, Iâ€™ll never be 100 percent healed again,â€ she said. “Thereâ€™s a lot I canâ€™t do, but in softball Iâ€™m pretty good with it now.â€
McCarthy nearly came to tears on Saturday watching sophomore teammate Heather Septon slug a pair of home runs against College of Southern Nevada.
â€œI was happy for all the sophomores. We are so close,â€ McCarthy said. â€œThese past two years, we have all become sisters.â€
In the Wildcatsâ€™ final at-bat of their last home game of the season on Saturday, McCarthy was scheduled to hit. But sophomore Carlee Beck pinch-hit for McCarthy.
â€œI was really happy when Leah put Carlee in for me. I usually hit for her (when sheâ€™s pitching),â€ McCarthy said. â€œIf there was anybody who hit for me in that last at-bat, Iâ€™m happy it was her.â€
Despite missing most of the second half of the 2013 Scenic West Athletic Conference schedule, McCarthy hit .329 with 24 RBI in 29 games and led the team with a .417 on-base average.
McCarthyâ€™s numbers dipped in 2014 as she adjusted to her role as a designated hitter. She is hitting .255 with four doubles and 12 RBI heading into this weekâ€™s Region 18 Tournament in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Wentworth has been able to send players from her past two teams to programs such as University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Jennifer Quam and Taleas Marble) and Western Oregon University (Melanie Pfeiffer). And now, a Wildcat is headed to the East Coast.
â€œWeâ€™re excited to have her here, and weâ€™re excited that sheâ€™s moving on to continue her education and softball,â€ Wentworth said.
Wildcat notes: Jennifer Quam, a 2012-13 softball player at WNC, led University of Texas of the Permian Basin with a .388 batting average, 16 doubles, 31 runs, 21 RBI and 24 stolen bases this spring. Quam was chosen to the All-Heartland Softball Conference first team and was selected as Newcomer of the Year â€¦ Melanie Pfeiffer is hitting .379 for Western Oregon this season. She has scored 49 runs, hit three triples and knocked in 15 runs for the Wolves (33-21), who won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title and have qualified for the NCAA Division II West Region Tournament for the first time in six years.