Catasauqua Press

Sunday, April 22, 2018
Press photo by Linda RothrockShannon Gallagher overcame a dislocated ankle to get back on the field. Press photo by Linda RothrockShannon Gallagher overcame a dislocated ankle to get back on the field.

Gallagher worked hard to get back on field with her teammates

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

At the end of her junior year last season, Shannon Gallagher has 99 career hits.

A consistent hitter, Gallagher figured she would achieve the milestone of 100 hits in the opening moments of this season. She also was looking forward to her final season on the mound for the Roughies, as she and junior Alexia Reichl could form an effective pitching tandem for a team in transition.

However, Gallagher’s season came to screeching halt.

She dislocated her left ankle in preseason and the upcoming season already seemed over.

“I never really had any problems,” said Gallagher, a senior. “I had a few things over the years, but there wasn’t anything that kept me out of the lineup for a while. It was frustrating for a while, but I knew I had to work hard to get back.

“Alexia (Reichl) and I could have handled the pitching work. This was the worst outcome for us and the team.”

Gallagher did just that and doctors finally gave her clearance to play at the beginning of May. It was a tedious, arduous road back for Gallagher, but she knew it was well worth it.

She reached a milestone in grand style, as Gallagher belted three homers and drove in six runs, going 4-for-4 in her return in a 16-1 rout of Moravian Academy May 5. Gallagher also made a return to the mound as well.

“It was great to be back,” said Gallagher. “I really was looking forward to it after my junior year. It was just great to get back out on the field. The doctors told me it would be three months. I just wanted to work as hard as I could in physical therapy.”

Being one of only two seniors — Dani Pluchinsky, the other — Gallagher understood the direction of the team. The Roughies plodded through a 2-17 season.

“With Hannah (Edwards) graduating, we knew things would be different,” said Gallagher. “We had a lot of young girls, but we lacked experience as a team. Some girls stepped up, but our inexperience hurt us.

“Some of the younger girls didn’t understand it. This is such a mental sport. They will gain experience and realize what this is all about, and they will have their opportunities. We overcame the fact that we almost didn’t have a team last year. They will get better.

“Shannon’s injury was a real blow,” said head coach Bobby Thomas. “We lost her and Alexia (Reichl), but we had to keep playing through it. Shannon always has been a hard worker, and it was good to see her back.”

Gallagher traces her softball roots back to her youth and also to her father, Jeff, who has been an avid slow-pitch softball player.

“He played when I was young and he introduced me to the game,” said Gallagher. “He has had the biggest influence in my softball career.”

Gallagher will attend East Stroudsburg University in the fall, but her softball career will come to an end.

For Gallagher, though, there will always be one milestone she won’t soon forget.