Moreta Dyke couldn’t hold back the tears as she was carried off the field during the third game of Bald Eagle Area’s 2016 season.
The Lady Eagles second baseman had collided with the center fielder after catching a shallow fly ball, causing an immediate pop in her right knee and leaving her laying on the field screaming and crying. She hoped for the best, thinking she might return to the field the next day. But she feared the worst, thinking she possibly tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
She continued to cry in the dugout — while teammates assured her she’d be back — because she wanted to play.
“The season I worked so hard for was gone in an instant,” Dyke said.
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Dyke later learned she sprained her medial collateral ligament (MCL) and spent more than a month rehabbing before she returned at the end of last season. She helped BEA make its run to the District 6 championship game in 2016, and she’s a crucial part of the Lady Eagles’ pitching rotation this season. Dyke’s senior season continues with BEA’s game at Bellefonte on Tuesday.
Going into the 2017 campaign, Dyke said her right leg remained weaker than her left leg. She’s focused solely on pitching right now as Lady Eagles coach Don Lucas said that’s where the team needs her.
But she misses playing the infield like she was the day she injured her knee against Bishop McCort last spring.
She made the catch before the collision, and BEA’s shortstop raced over to her and took the ball from her glove to gun down a runner trying to tag up and score. Dyke said it was the “worst pain” she’s ever felt.
“I felt bad for her,” BEA’s Zoey Surovec said. “If it was me, I don’t know what I would do.”
At the time, Lucas thought Dyke suffered a season-ending injury.
After the game, her teammates sent texts asking how she felt. She watched practice that weekend on crutches before receiving the diagnosis of a Grade 2 sprained MCL. The news brought a sense of relief — she couldn’t wait to tell her teammates and coaches and to start to work her way back.
She stretched at physical therapy, tried to walk and aimed to bend her leg again. It still hurt when she began to run, but she pushed through the pain.
“I wanted to play so bad,” Dyke said.
She said there’s no better feeling than playing the game — from being in the circle to making a great play at second base to driving in the game-winning run. And she finally felt that adrenaline rush when she returned to the lineup at second base late in the season in a home game against Tyrone.
Dyke made a diving play on a ball she normally would have reached easily.
“I was obviously a lot slower than I used to be,” Dyke said.
But she worked hard to put herself in position to contribute in the postseason. And she’s making a difference in her senior year in the circle, where she relies on her control and likes throwing her curveball and screwball more than her fastball.
Lucas said she’s worked hard on her changeup, too.
“She throws a curve, she throws a screwball and then she drops that changeup, and it comes in and it falls right down off the table,” Lucas said. “When that’s happening, they just can’t hardly hold back.”
After the injury, Dyke worried about the injury’s potential effect on her senior year.
Now, after painful injury and all the rehab last year, she considers herself lucky.
“I definitely cherish my time on the field a lot more because I realize that anything could happen,” Dyke said.