After scary injury in hit-by-pitch incident, Reyna Carranco is ready to bounce back
Softball isn’t considered a contact sport, but injuries can, and do, happen all the time. One of the most dangerous causes of injury is wild pitches. In a sport where pitches can reach highway speeds, an errant throw can result in some serious damage.
Reyna Carranco knows this all too well.
In a series in late March against the No.1 Washington Huskies, the second baseman entered the batter’s box. She had already been up to the plate three times before, but Washington pitcher Taran Alvelo was dealing, and Carranco, who was batting .386 on the season, had only a strikeout to show.
One of the pitches from Alvelo, a 70-mile-per-hour rise-ball that rose a little too much, struck Carranco in the face.
“I really didn’t feel much pain; I just felt more pressure toward my nose,” Carranco said. “I was just scared because I saw blood coming out and I didn’t know where it was coming from, and I couldn’t really breathe.”
Carranco suffered a concussion, a facial fracture just below her right eye and a broken nose that required surgery.
The injury could have, and most likely would have, been much worse if it hadn’t been for the mask on Carranco’s helmet, a mask that is required for batters at every level of the sport. The ball became wedged between the mask and brim of her helmet, saving her from more potential damage.
At the time of the incident, Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said he didn’t have a timetable for a potential return but he thought Carranco’s biggest hurdle would be the concussion.
“The concussion is the one thing that is holding her back,” he said. “I think once she gets cleared from the concussion, then she can start doing some stuff.”
Sure enough, just two weeks after, Carranco was back in the starting lineup as the UA took on the then-No. 5 Oregon Ducks. She went one for four with a run scored.
Candrea also said something Carranco would have to get over was the fear of stepping into the batter’s box and watching fast pitches coming at her.
“I think my first few at bats at Oregon I was a little hesitant because it was my first time back,” Carranco said. “But I think after that I settled in; I just had to get back into it.”
One other adjustment Carranco had to deal with has been the addition of a mask in the outfield, a mask she plans to shed soon but that she said she's adapted to.
“I think I’ve gotten used to it,” she said. “I just feel more protected with it now, so it’s just a protection thing more than anything.”
When asked if she thought this would hinder what has otherwise been a great season for her, Carranco kept it simple:
“I think it’s just a little block in the road,” she said with a smile.
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