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Last updated: Fri. Jul. 25, 2014 - 07:17 am EDT

News-Sentinel Softball Player of the Year - Erin Rethlake

Huntington North senior overcame concussion in final season

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2014 News-Sentinel Softball All-Area Team

Erin Rethlake, Huntington North

Katy Guebard, Carroll

Alexa Allen, Leo

Lindsey Bowers, Leo

Kristina Burkhardt, Bishop Dwenger

Jordan Schneider, Bishop Dwenger

Mikeila Boroff, Lakewood Park Christian

Jaclyn Delagrange, Lakewood Park Christian

Haley Hostetler, Woodlan

Allie Vodde, Columbia City

Ashley Morris, Garrett

Emma Wolfe, Bishop Luers

Madisen Parker, Homestead

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The way Huntington North senior Erin Rethlake effortlessly throws 60-plus mph fastballs and ankle-breaking curveballs, it is a struggle to imagine just how much adversity she has overcome.

Used to playing softball all-year round since a young age, Rethlake twice in her high school career had to watch significant portions of seasons, missing 19 games as a sophomore with a torn meniscus and almost a month of her senior year with a concussion.

Each time, Rethlake came back stronger, including her senior campaign that saw her go 13-2 with a 0.80 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 96 and two-thirds innings.

She was just as dominant offensively, notching a batting line of .300/.478/.580 while accumulating three home runs and 19 RBI.

Her performance on the mound and at the plate has earned her the honor of being the 2014 News-Sentinel Softball Player of the Year.

Rethlake suffered her concussion after running into the catcher while going after a pop fly. It was her second concussion in less than eight months after being diagnosed with one during Homecoming last fall in the Powder Puff game.

“That was kind of bad because they were so close together,” Rethlake said.

But Rethlake recovered in time to lead Huntington North to the semistate final, a run that included an upset of undefeated and top-ranked Crown Point in the semistate semis.

The victory over Crown Point showed the immense talent that Rethlake possesses, talents she will be taking to the University of Kentucky in the fall. She allowed just five baserunners and struck out 11 in the 2-0 victory for the Vikings, a dominating performance.

Rethlake has always prided herself on being a player that turns up her play in the postseason, a point that was proven against Crown Point.

The senior showed that attribute in her sophomore season when she returned for sectional play from her meniscus injury to help Huntington North to the Class 4A State Championship Game.

“She has come back strong in the postseason, that's what she thrives on, she gets up for those games,” Huntington North coach Paris Seibold said.

That competitive edge has helped Rethlake stand apart from the majority of her peers.

“I was thrown into the fire early,” said Rethlake about playing as a youngster. “It felt like I always had to put the pressure on me. It was the type of thing I got used to, so I was ready when I was older and it really mattered.”

The next step for Rethlake is college and playing in the SEC with the Wildcats. Kentucky was a place she originally did not want to visit, but fell in love with the place after visiting and speaking with softball coach Rachel Lawson.

“(Coach Lawson's) coaching style is a lot like my own dad, and I was really drawn to that,” Rethlake said. “Everything just kind of fit together.”

Much like Rethlake's high school career, injuries and all.

News-Sentinel All-Area Softball team

Erin Rethlake, Huntington North

Kristina Burkhardt, Bishop Dwenger

Jordan Schneider, Bishop Dwenger

Emma Wolfe, Bishop Luers

Katy Guebard, Carroll

Allie Vodde, Columbia City

Ashley Morris, Garrett

Madisen Parker, Homestead

Mikeila Boroff, Lakewood Park Christian

Jaclyn Delagrange, Lakewood Park Christian

Alexa Allen, Leo

Lindsey Bowers, Leo

Haley Hostetler, Woodlan

jkenny@news-sentinel.com


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