By Brodee Gillam
This softball season has been filled exciting moments for the Stars.
During the second game of the Lake Michigan College doubleheader on April 24 at Lansing's Ranney Park, there was a moment that was not exciting, but sentimental.
The bases were loaded for the Stars in the fifth inning when LCC Head Coach Marc Kibby decided to call in sophomore Jodi Vanpelt to pinch hit. It seemed normal in the moment for those who did not know what Vanpelt has gone through.
After injuring her wrist, which kept her on the bench her entire freshman season, Vanpelt suffered a high ankle sprain in fall practices. The injury kept her sidelined until recently. The pinch hit was her first at-bat in her two years at LCC.
Seemingly blessed by the baseball gods, Vanpelt grounded an RBI single into the outfield. She became tearful immediately upon reaching first base as her teammates, coaches and fans cheered for her.
"That's the part about coaching I've always liked," Kibby said. "I don't care if it wasn't a 300-foot home run; if it was only a bloop over the pitcher's head. That was so huge to see her battle back from all of her injuries.
"That's what I coach for. It's not the wins and losses. It's about seeing the victories of the kids."
The Stars mercied the Red Hawks in that same inning, 8-0.
Kibby also said he thinks Vanpelt "can help us out with our tournament run" as well.
Vanpelt detailed what she was thinking during her at-bat and her journey to get there.
"I thought about playing with them, since I've never gotten be on the field with them," Vanpelt said. "A lot of people think a team sport is (working) together on the field to win a game, but that's not everything. You realize how much you need to depend on your teammates, how much they support you and they encourage you and they just keep you going.
"I had 19 girls here that were helping keep me strong."
The Stars won the first game of the doubleheader as well, 12-4.
With the two wins, LCC improved to 28-7 overall.