Standout fights back from injury
Griffin said Giles, a third baseman and pitcher, is finally recovered from the knee surgery she had last year and is playing some of the best softball he has ever seen her play.
“Erin is a kind of kid that not many people have taken seriously, but she is one of the premier players in the league, if not the state. She has worked really, really hard to get to where she is,” Griffin said during a practice on April 26, the day before a 12-0 win over Bonny Eagle.
Giles, who has been playing softball nearly her whole life, said she didn’t start pitching until fourth or fifth grade after getting an opportunity to attend an offseason pitching clinic with Griffin.
Giles began pitching for the varsity her freshman year and pitching still remains her favorite position on the field.
“I do really enjoy both (pitching and playing third base). I’d much prefer being on the pitcher’s mound because that is what I have been working on for the last eight, nine years, but I like being part of the infield. I like being close and right in front of the action,” Giles said.
Giles said she feels pressure when she is on the mound, but she would have it no other way.
“It is natural to feel pressure. I think everybody does. I have an incredible team to back me up. I don’t worry about giving up a hit or two or putting a ball into play,” Giles said. “If I didn’t love the pressure, I wouldn’t do it. That is what makes the sport fun for me.”
Going into the team’s games against Thornton Academy on May 2, Giles is 2-0 after earning wins in a 13-0 victory against Biddeford on April 19 and a 12-0 victory over Gorham on April 25. She also pitched in relief in a 14-6 victory over South Portland on April 24.
Giles hopes to continue this success and show her coaches and her teammates the type of player she truly can be after struggling through an injury she sustained her freshman year.
Giles suffered the injury when she was climbing over a teammate to get out of a car. Giles caught her knee on the window roller and split a tendon in her knee.
At first she was diagnosed with patella tendonitis and went to physical therapy several times a week for three or four months, yet saw no improvement. Giles said she still played softball through the injury, but didn’t realize the severity of the injury until just prior to her sophomore year.
“It really began hurting the beginning of sophomore year. Every step I took hurt,” Giles said. She sought several opinions and determined she had a longitudinal tear of her patella tendon and needed surgery. She had the surgery in November 2010 and had a three- to four-month recovery period. She was cleared to resume her softball activities in early April of last year, a week before a team training trip to Florida during April school vacation. Giles, a former soccer and basketball player, played basketball her freshman year, but has not been cleared to play that sport due to lingering effects from the injury. She chose not to play soccer in favor of dedicating the fall sports season to softball.
Giles didn’t miss any games because of the injury last season and continued to get stronger and stronger as the season went along.
“My goal is to be the best player I can be,” Giles said of her 2012 season goal. “I want to prove I am fully back from the injury because the coach hasn’t seen me at 100 percent yet.”
Griffin has taken notice.
“She is moving great. She is looking great. You are starting to see the athlete she is,” Griffin said.
With Giles healthy, and a strong lineup of returning players, Griffin said he expects another successful season for the team.
“We feel we can contend for another state title,” Griffin said. “We are regarded as one of the top teams in the state. We are excited about what we have.”
Giles said there is pressure on her and her teammates to repeat.
“This year we have a huge target on our backs after winning states last year. Usually the state champions do,” Giles said.
“We only lost four players and two starters. We have a lot of our core back,” she added.
One player that the team was forced to replace this season was Abby Rutt, the team’s starting catcher last year who transferred to another school to play hockey.
Griffin said a challenge in the young season has been to break in two new catchers, junior Paige Moore-Haskell and sophomore Megan Murrell. So far, he said, the two have met the challenge of replacing Rutt.
The team, as a whole, has risen to the challenge so far this season. Over the course of its first five games, all victories, Scarborough has outscored opponents 70 to 8, while pitching three shutouts.