By Michael Kinney, Contributing Writer
Sidelined by a knee injury, Kylie Dodson watched from the dugout as her teammates competed in Mustang’s inaugural slow-pitch season last spring
However, Dodson said she is not going to let that affect her as she enters her senior season with the Broncos. She said wants to end her prep career the same way she started it, with a state championship.
“Just thinking about freshman year, and winning that, it just makes me so excited,” Dodson said. “I just like shake because I’m so excited to go out there and go play and try to get a ring again.”
Before Dodson could start to even think about reclaiming the 6A fast-pitch championship, she had a few hurdles she had to conquer first. Monday, she took the circle in a scrimmage for the first time in live competition since she injured herself in February. According to Mustang coach Jamie Roberts, the outing couldn’t have gone much better.
“Kylie Dodson, our returning starter from last season, threw a heck of a game against Silo, only giving up one run,” Roberts said. “You know, that’s her first game back since her surgery, and she looks sharp. She had an excellent morning on the mound. She threw five great innings.”
Dodson was just as excited with her performance.
“It feels so good to be back. I mean, being out and watching everyone, not being able to help was just terrible,” Dodson said. “So to be back, it just feels so good to be with everyone, to be able to work hard with them and compete with them again. It’s really amazing.”
The injury Dodson is coming back from isn’t a simple ankle sprain or even a broken bone. She tore her meniscus, which required surgery. However, the meniscus was deformed and doctors had to reshape it.
So it is understandable if Dodson was apprehensive about getting back in the cirlce and putting pressure on her knee as she hurled a softball as hard as she can.
“I was really scared at first to come back,” Dodson said. “But our coaches and my teammates helped me to get over it and get back into it and then once I was into it just came natural again.”
The Broncos’ season starts Monday with a 6:30 p.m. home game against Norman. Dodson will be taking the circle even though her coach says she is around 75 percent back to where she used to be.
“She’s definitely been our number one, and we rely on her a bunch. And we were a little nervous, you know, to see how she would respond,” Roberts said. “You know, she hasn’t been on the mound in a while. She took this summer off. But she looked great. We’ve still got some work to do, but she looked very sharp yesterday. We were very happy with her performance, and I know she was too.”
Dodson is looking forward to getting back into action with her fellow Broncos. She said is especially excited about getting on the field with senior catcher Amelya Huggins.
“Oh it’s awesome. I mean, we’re really good friends outside of softball, and so when we’re in the field and like, something doesn’t go our way, or something happens, we’ll just laugh about it and like go back and go watch the next pitch,” Dodson said. “Like (Monday), there was a bunt right between me and her and neither of us got to it, and we just laughed at it and then went back the next… and got her out the next at-bat.”
With a few more preseason games scheduled before the season starts, Roberts will be watching Dodson carefully. But she seems confident Dodson will be ready take help guide the team throughout the year.
“My expectations are to just to go out and pitch as well as I can and just get as many strikeouts as I can,” Dodson said, “And win state.”