Latrobe softball pitcher Tallman back in circle, anticipating 2020 season
Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | 5:11 PM
Perhaps the greatest what-if story of the 2019 WPIAL softball season was Latrobe pitcher Jordan Tallman.
The fast-throwing sophomore had a spot among the WPIAL strikeout leaders before an injury sidelined her for the final six games of the regular season and sent Latrobe’s year into somewhat of a tailspin.
But Tallman is making up for lost time this summer during the travel-ball season. The right-hander returned to the circle and again is finding her groove.
Tallman, who plays for the Ohio Outlaws, was diagnosed with a dislocated tibiofibular joint in her plant leg. She also had bone bruising and small tears in her ACL, which kept her out for six weeks.
The injury did not require surgery. She returned to competitive softball May 31.
“It prevented me from pretty much all physical activity like running, jumping, pitching, hitting, (etc.),” Tallman said. “I am back to pitching and feeling much better. I am back 100 percent.”
The rising junior was injured April 18 — 12 games into what would be a 19-game schedule. Latrobe was 10-2 at the time and considered a contender in WPIAL Class 5A.
The Wildcats, who went 2-6 without Tallman (12-7 overall) and made the playoffs but lost in the first round to Hampton, 4-1.
Before the injury, Tallman was 9-2 with a 1.39 ERA, 142 strikeouts and 27 walks in 70 1/3 innings
Latrobe was short on experienced pitchers behind Tallman and Marist recruit Kiley Myers, who left the team after four games, so Tallman had to work double-time.
“Unfortunately, injuries occur at inopportune times,” Latrobe coach Rick Kozusko said. “But they are part of the game.”
Kozusko did not want to put the weight of Latrobe’s playoff hopes on the loss of one player but knows how valuable Tallman was to early season momentum.
The team rallied around the void and did its best to salvage the season. A healthy Tallman next season, however, could spring confidence and peace of mind within the program.
“Jordan will come back stronger than ever from her knee injury because she has an ‘I can, I will’ mindset and the work ethic to make it happen,” said Latrobe catcher Makayla Munchinski, a recent graduate who will play at Cal (Pa.). “She will without a doubt be a force in the WPIAL next year. She brings a self-confident presence on the mound, which is critical, especially in the circle.”
Munchinski said Tallman did not become a bystander when she was hurt.
“The time she took to rest will be beneficial,” Munchinski said. “I know for a fact that during her ‘rest’ she did not sit on her butt and do nothing. She worked hard on her spins and making herself physically and mentally stronger.”
Tallman did not feel stranded during the down time.
“All of my friends, family and teammates were supportive,” she said, “and helped me any way they could to get me back to playing.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .