East Greenbush, NY - Columbia Pitcher Caitlin Cooper is one of the most dominant softball pitchers in the area. That’s why she is heading to UAlbany this fall on a scholarship to show off her arm for the Great Danes.
However, these days all she can do is sit on the bench and watch her team compete from the dugout.
"Next thing I remember I was just laying on the ground screaming, and it was just so painful," explained Cooper during practice Monday afternoon.
So painful because she took a line drive to the face in the team's game at Guilderland April 15th, suffering several broken bones in her face and nose.
"It's been really hard, a lot of surgeries, my face has just been really puffy.” She explained “I wish I could be there more for my team.”
Unfortunately, the star pitcher's season is done. Her mouth will be wired shut for a couple more weeks as she continues to heal.
"She's chomping at the bit," said her coach Chris Ciccone. "Instead of sitting on the bench, she'd rather be out on the field but we know her health is the most important thing."
The next time Cooper takes the mound, she'll wear a protective mask around her face. In fact, for the rest of her career she will do so and since the incident, many of her teammates have done the same.
"It’s a conscious effort on our part to make sure our players are safety aware, safety conscious and protected," said Ciccone.
"Besides that I’m really going to hope to put it past me and not let it affect my game," stated Cooper.
Ironically enough, the Lady Blue Devils will head to the same Guilderland field where the accident happened to take on the Lady Dutchmen on Friday in the opening round of the Class AA sectional tournament.