Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Comeback Kid

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Comeback Kid

Article excerpt

WAYNE - Morgan O'Neill spent that long October night in a bed at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, unsure of what the following months would hold.

The DePaul junior had broken her left fibula and dislocated her ankle.

She didn't know what surgery would entail until she met with her surgeon the next day in the Paterson hospital. She didn't know what her recovery time would be. And she didn't know whether she would be ready for the start of softball season.

"I really wanted to be back for the season," O'Neill said. "Waiting to know is just really hard."

Then she learned the details.

Surgery to insert plates and screws. Three months without putting weight on her ankle. Another surgery to remove the plates and screws. Then physical therapy.

It all seemed daunting. But even she has been surprised by how quickly she has recovered. O'Neill isn't at full strength yet, but she's close.

And she has proven her performances at the plate and in the circle haven't suffered in the Spartans' first week of the softball season.

"She believes now that she's ready to make a statement, which is good," coach Sue Parler said.

"In the beginning, there were a lot of questions in terms of, 'How ready am I? What kind of statement can I make?' I think at this point now, she can say, 'I'm ready.' "

O'Neill showed that Wednesday when DePaul, ranked No. 7 in The Record preseason Top 25, defeated No. 1 Immaculate Heart Academy, 4- 3.

She slugged a three-run home run over the center field fence. And O'Neill relieved starter Summer Ramundo, allowing just one run on three hits in four innings. She walked one batter and struck out three.

O'Neill looked like the pitcher she always had been.

"She was hitting every spot," Spartans catcher Dominique Coiro said. "Hitting every spot, throwing every pitch I called."

But there was never any guarantee O'Neill would be in position to perform that well. Her return, Parler said, is a testament to how hard she worked.

When she first suffered the injury after falling off of a hoverboard, she knew it was bad. …

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