NEWBURYPORT — Lauren Singer has been a fixture on the Newburyport varsity softball team since her freshman year, and coming into her third season, the junior catcher was expected to make a huge impact.
In Monday’s 16-15 win over Amesbury, that’s exactly what she did. Singer had 4 hits, 2 runs and 3 RBIs, including back-to-back triples in the second and fourth innings and the game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth.
Not bad for someone who has spent most of the past two months in a back brace.
In February, Singer was snowboarding at Saddleback Mountain in Maine when she went off a jump and saw a little kid in her path. Trying to avoid hitting the kid at the last moment, Singer wound up landing on her back, compacting three vertebrae and cracking a fourth.
“I was in a huge back brace,” Singer said. “I was out of school for like a month and a half, so I had to have a tutor come.”
Given the severity of the injury, it was unclear at first whether Singer would miss time once softball season began and if she would be limited upon her return. Once she was out of the brace, Singer said she started going back to school and made a point to start throwing as soon as possible to get her back used to moving again.
As her recovery progressed, Singer started trying to hit again too, and considering the stress that swinging a bat puts on your back, it took some time before she was able to get comfortable at the plate. Singer improved as the preseason wore on, but when opening day arrived, Newburyport head coach Lori Solazzo decided she wasn’t quite ready and held her out of the lineup.
Singer wound up missing the team’s first three games before she finally made her season debut against Amesbury as the team’s designated player. If there were any doubts about her ability to contribute going in, they had been put to rest by the fourth inning, by which time Singer had nearly cranked two balls over the right field fence.