Tears clouded her eyes as Sam Barry stared across the field at girls in celebration.
Her love of the game is the main reason Barry was even able to help Dale try and defend its state title.
After she broke her fifth metatarsal in her right foot on Jan. 11 while running backward during a basketball game, the doctors told Dale's shortstop-turned-third-baseman that she would miss the rest of basketball and her final slowpitch softball season.
She cried when she heard the news.
But on Wednesday, she played in the field and batted while helping her team to the Class 4A state finals, where it lost to Tushka, 12-10 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
“It's been a dream all season, just to play in (the state title game) and then finally to come around and they said, ‘I could play in it,'” Barry said. “We tried our hardest. There's nothing more we could have done. We played as a team. We did our best.”
During her recovery, Barry looked to Oklahoma basketball player Buddy Hield as inspiration. Hield injured his fifth metatarsal in his right foot at the beginning of February.
“He came back in three weeks,” Barry said. “He gave me hope that I could come back.”
While injured, Barry never missed a practice, cheering from the dugout. Then in the Pirates final game before districts, Barry was cleared to play.
She stepped up for her first at-bat and hit a home run.
In her first 17 at-bats, she hit 11 home runs, including two grand slams.
“I mean when you're playing you don't feel anything,” Barry said.