Florida Gulf Coast University’s Shelby Morgan, the reigning Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Year is out for the rest of this season after tearing her bicep tendon in her throwing arm.
While warming up versus Mercer April 6, the Santa Fe High School alum felt a pop in her bicep tendon.
“I threw one pitch and when throwing the second one I heard it pop and knew that I couldn’t throw anymore that day, and then the news came thru that my season was over,” Morgan said.
FGCU softball head coach Dave Deiros said Morgan will bounce back.
“She’s tremendously tough mentally, and I know that from her work on the mound. She can deal with the good and the bad, and never has a change in emotion,” Deiros said. “She’ll get thru this adversity, and it helps that she’s going into the medical program and knows the pitfalls of injuries and the recovery times.”
The toughest part in Morgan’s recovery is not her four-month rehab, but rather that she can’t be out on the field with her teammates right now.
“It’s really hard, just sitting there on the bench. I can’t contribute anymore, but I know my team is behind me and that’s all that matters right now,” Morgan said.
This season Morgan was 12-6 with a 2.94 ERA and had 55 strikeouts against 40 walks. More than anything Morgan was an inning eater, racking up 107 innings in appearances for the Eagles.
The sophomore has also been very thankful for all the support she has received since her injury.
“Everyone is supporting me,” Morgan said. “I am really surprised how many people knew that I was hurt and that so many people cared about me.”
Last year, Morgan helped lead the Eagles to an A-Sun conference title and NCAA tournament birth, other pitchers on the staff and the entire team must step up to fill the void.
“It’s a physical and psychological loss for our team, because you lose a sense of security knowing your ace is out there in the circle and takes pressure off the offense and defense,” Deiros said. “We’re having to adjust offensively to those kinds of things and our two pitchers who will be doing all the work the remainder of the season and pick up more innings.”
FGCU’s staff includes juniors Amanda Josie (10-3, 3.44) and Jaclyn Owen (8-6, 3.14) have been solid since the loss of Morgan. The Eagles are 6-3 since losing Morgan.
“Our record after losing Shelby, we haven’t fluctuated winning percentage wise and we are one game behind right now in third place and I’m really proud of how our girls have responded,” Deiros said.
The Eagles swept Jacksonville University last weekend, including two extra innings wins that amassed a total of 20 innings.
“It was seven and a half hours of softball on Saturday and not to mention all the craziness that went along with the games,” Deiros said. “A combination of umpire conferences and chess playing by both coaching staffs led to a very interesting pair of games.”
The next couple weeks are crucial for the Lady Eagles heading into A-Sun play as they look towards repeating as conference champions.
“We are the defending Atlantic Sun conference champions and first and foremost get into the conference tournament,” Deiros said. “We have nine games to do our jobs and try to get the highest seed possible, because the first two seed get a bye. Once your get into the tournament, anything can happen.”