By Ben Murphy
She strikes out batters by the dozen. She ropes enough base hits to make opposing pitchers nervous. She can do it all and then some. Clare County Review Softball player of the year, Harrison junior Allison Lipovsky had to do some of that then some, rebounding from tearing her right ACL in a volleyball injury, to the tune of a 0.97 earned run average as a pitcher, striking out 339 batters in 172 innings pitched. At the plate she hit .384 with eight home runs and 34 RBI.
“I am very happy with my performance this past spring but to be quite honest I am a little surprised I did so well due to the fact that I couldn’t practice softball all fall and winter due to my injury,” Lipovsky said. “I think that playing summer ball in 2013 had a huge impact since every hitter I faced was talented and there were so many all-state girls that not only stepped into the box but also all-state pitchers that I had to hit off of. Playing against the best gave me nerves of steel and I think that definitely helped.”
The Hornets, who won last year’s Jack Pine Conference title went 22-8 this year and 8-6 in the league.
“Another thing that helped was that I have an excellent group of girls that play behind me and it starts with my catcher, Toni Fletcher,” Lipovsky said. “Haley Sulla and Kate Sherrick were rocks in the middle of the diamond. They made countless plays when I did make mistakes with pitches. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Despite falling to Pinconning in a 1-0 pre-district loss to end the Hornet season, Lipovsky still sees the 2014 season as a big accomplishment.
“We won 20-plus games for the third year in a row, so I think we had a lot of success,” she said. “Only going 8-6 in the JPC was a tough blow to all of us at first (but) when I Think about the teams who finished in front of us, I have to admit that they are all really great teams. We split with Meridian in two tight games and they tied for the conference title. Clare was also a talented team… Beaverton took third and we split with them in conference play… We also lost to a very talented Farwell team so going 8-6 in the league was pretty successful this year considering how good all the teams were.”
Still, there was that injury. Lipovsky completely tore her ACL during the volleyball season. She had surgery on Oct. 9, and though doctors said she wouldn’t be healed until October, she defied the odds and didn’t miss an inning this spring.
“I worked hard in December, January, February and March to be bale to return by the start of high school ball,” Lipovsky, who also helped raise $4400 for a Strikeout for Hunger campaign said. “Many said that even if I did return I wouldn’t be as good as before and that I would struggle. I used that as motivation to be as absolutely as good as I could be. I did struggle early in the season as I didn’t have the endurance to finish both games of a doubleheader. I used those struggle as more motivation to improve.”
As a freshman she burst onto the local softball scene. As a sophomore she helped lead the Hornets to a JPC title. As a junior she came back from a career threatening injury. As for her senior season?
“Every year I feel that I have done a better job pitching, especially locating the ball, my hitting went down this past year due to not being able to pick up a bat until mid-March,” Lipovsky said. “I have a few goals going into next year, like getting 10 more home runs to reach 30 for my career and 300 more strikeouts to reach 1200 for a career and helping my school get our second JPC title.
“Playing another year of summer ball versus the best in the state will definitely help me get ready,” she added. “I am also hoping to play in a few fall tournaments this year, lift a lot of weights and attack the winter months perfecting my change-up and drop-ball.”