Recovered from knee injury, Radvan bolsters lineup for No. 4 Freeport
By: Michael Love
Monday, April 15, 2019 | 7:21 PM
Tori Radvan waited and prepared.
The Freeport junior, a three-sport standout, had her sights set on April 3 throughout the recovery process from a severe knee injury suffered in a volleyball match at the start of the school year.
That date was the first softball meeting between the Yellowjackets and rival Burrell. Freeport swept the Bucs last year en route to a 10-0 record and the section championship.
“As soon as I found out what I had to do, I made sure I would be ready for (April 3) to pitch against Burrell,” said Radvan, who said she played with a lot of adrenaline that day. “It worked out. It felt great to play in that game and be able to play in all the games.”
Freeport defeated Burrell, 7-4, and is 5-0 overall and 4-0 in Section 1-3A through last week’s 13-2 triumph over Derry.
The Yellowjackets are No. 4 in the latest Trib HSSN rankings and will host Greensburg Salem in a nonsection game Tuesday before the rematch with Burrell on Wednesday.
“Tori is such a great athlete, and I think her being physically fit really helped her come back as quickly as she did,” Freeport coach Sam Ross said.
Radvan tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in a nonsection match against North Allegheny on Aug. 31. She went up for a hit, and when she landed, she heard a pop.
The severity of the injury was not fully known until a couple of weeks later, and she had surgery Oct. 3.
Radvan’s volleyball and basketball seasons were done, replaced with rehab several days a week.
“It was a long process, but I knew I had to work hard to meet each goal,” she said.
Throughout the journey back, Radvan said she did what she could to support her volleyball and basketball teammates. She became the basketball team’s scorekeeper.
“I didn’t realize just how quick the game is until I sat and watched and had to pay attention to everything,” she said. “It was insane trying to keep score against North Catholic because it was so fast-paced.”
When the softball season arrived — official preseason practices began March 4 — Radvan’s rehab process came to a close. She was cleared to go for the second week of preseason workouts.
“To not be able to do anything for all those months, I had a lot of energy to give,” Radvan said.
Radvan has thrown 19 of Freeport’s 28 innings and is 4-0 with a 2.58 earned-run average. She has walked six and struck out 28.
“The knee is fine, and there is no pain,” said Radvan of her full-go but still-cautious approach this spring.
“I was a little worried about sliding, but I did one against Burrell. I laid there for a few seconds because I was scared to get up, but it was fine.”
Senior Ally DeJidas and Radvan, hitting second and third in the lineup, respectively, lead the team in average.
Radvan is hitting .611 (11 of 18) with two doubles, three home runs and a team-best 15 RBIs.
She has a trio of three-hit games and has knocked in at least two runs in every game.
Radvan drove in two against Burrell. The next day, she hit a pair of home runs with five total RBIs in a 13-3 rout of Valley.
Her at-bats against Valley followed four intentional walks to DeJidas.
“That gave me a lot of motivation to show teams that it isn’t good to walk Ally,” Radvan said.
DeJidas is glad to have Radvan back to full health and performing well this spring.
“We’ve been playing together for a long time now, and I didn’t expect anything less than her full effort in coming back from her injury,” DeJidas said. “It was so hard on her, but now that she’s back, we’re excited to see what more she can do and what the team can do the rest of the season.”
Radvan said she’s excited for how this year’s team has grown.
“We have a lot of younger girls, and they’ve been getting used to everything with the speed of a high school game,” she said. “But everyone is improving every day. We are pushing to be better.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .