Six plates and six anchors in her shoulder plus a 2-inch long scar on her right elbow are lasting reminders from three surgeries Chesterton junior catcher Megan Matheny has underwent in the past two years.
An emphatic stomp of home plate with the winning run in the Chesterton Sectional championship plus an overall 6-for-14 postseason offensive performance are thankful reminders about her perseverance.
"It was depressing at times," Matheny said. "I had to miss nine months (after the shoulder surgery), and I had to give up basketball to do this.
"I'm glad I stayed with it."
This season, Matheny is hitting .384 overall for the Trojans (21-10), who face Huntington North (20-7) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals of the Class 4A Harrison of Lafayette Semistate.
She already holds the school's career mark for doubles, including a single-season record of 12 this year.
All this from a player who had shoulder surgery at the end of her freshman season and a pair of elbow surgeries before the start of this season.
"There was definitely a lot of pain," Matheny said. "People still say I have a cannon (for an arm).
She also provided plenty of offensive power, especially in the postseason. Her one-out, seventh-inning RBI double closed the deficit to one run against Crown Point in the sectional, and she later scoring the game-winning run and out later. She was 3-for-4 with a run scored in a 10-8 regional win over Lake Central.
"Sometimes some kids tighten up when the game is on the line; others get focused," said Chesterton coach LouAnn Hopson of Matheny, an All-Duneland Athletic Conference selection this season. "She's become a clutch hitter for us."
Hopson admitted that Matheny does possibly see more pitches since being moved to the No. 3 hitting spot a month ago. Quality hitters Megan Tymorek (leadoff) and Sydney Cooley (cleanup) sandwiched around her, but the junior is making the most of her opportunities.
Matheny, who has a 3.8 grade-point average, has also shouldered the responsibility of calling pitches as the team's signal caller this season.
"It means more than just sitting on the bench and cheering on the team," said Matheny, who hit .338 as the designated player last season. "It's a lot different, because I have the confidence to help out the team more.
"I'm always talking to (pitcher Megan Tymorek) about what we're going to throw. I'll even talk about it in school. I'm getting used to it."
And she's getting used to having positive memories about softball.
"I didn't think this would happen," she said. "This is the highest yet, and I'm still only a junior."