Recently, you may have read the first of two columns featuring 17-year-old Katelyn Pavey, a one-armed, fastpitch softball phenom from Lanesville, Indiana. You learned she made All-Conference her junior year at Lanesville High School, batted .411, played centerfield, and was receiving interest from NAIA to Division 1 college softball coaches. She also filled in for her team as a pitcher in the state tournament, helping her team reach eleventh in the state.
You learned about her accomplishments, but not so much her heart.
In a telephone interview, she advised people born missing a limb, “Never give up and never say you can’t. You can always do something, you just have to find a way. I’ve said this before to people, but the words ‘I can’t’ are not used in our household. You can always find a way to do something if you really want it.”
Asked about the people behind her success, she said, “First, I want to give the glory to God. He gave me the ability to play this game. I just want to show him I’m going to play for him. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13. (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.) I also credit my dad, who’s been with me through this and helped a lot. He’s my biggest fan and critic and everything.”
She said little kids often stare and sometimes ask what happened to her arm. She tells them God made her that way. “They also ask me about different things they can do, like tying a shoe. I tell them it took me a long time to learn, but I do it too, but differently,” she said.
Her most memorable game experience occurred two years ago while playing rightfield at a softball camp in Kentucky, where she threw out a runner at home that had tagged from third. The man running the camp literally stopped the game and ran out onto the field to give Pavey a “high five.”
She added, “Softball is a game of failure. You fail more than you succeed. That’s what life is about. But if you overcome failure, you will be successful, as long as you work for it. If you want to become better and push yourself, you can do anything you want.”
If you’re interested in watching, I’ve placed a video on my Facebook page of Pavey doing a batting trick.