tampabay.com

Pirate plays through the pain

By IZZY GOULD
Published May 8, 2007


DADE CITY - Her shoulder began aching in the summer.

Pasco was doing some offseason conditioning when shortstop Brianne Farmer pulled something in her right shoulder.

Therapy and about three months of rest helped the pain subside through the winter. The junior felt fine through the first days of preseason practice.

Then she started throwing more.

"I'm not sure what it is really, " Farmer said. "Basically, my shoulder's loose."

Which means Farmer can't fire a throw to first base the way she wants. Turning crisp double plays doesn't come easy either.

"It hasn't been my best year, " Farmer said.

Still, Farmer anchors the infield and deserves as much credit as any starter for helping Pasco reach the Class 4A final four.

Her experience and leadership give those around her peace of mind even if a little something has come off her throw.

"I wouldn't feel comfortable without her at shortstop, " Pasco pitcher Colena Lazar said. "She's pretty big in the infield and batting. She covers a lot of range."

Farmer was up front about the injury.

She told coach Shamalene Broner the shoulder was hurting and affecting her defense. She was visibly weaker firing to first.

Broner turned to a pair of freshmen - Tyler Crisp, who tore her rotator cuff, and Lacey Cook - for help while Farmer focused on her new role as designated hitter.

Swinging a bat didn't bother the shoulder, so Pasco leaned on Farmer's bat. She was among the team leaders in several categories, batting .460 with 22 RBIs and a team-leading 15 doubles.

But her defensive side was screaming for a chance to rise above the agony.

"It got to where I really wanted to play, " Farmer said. "I knew it wasn't going to be like last year, but I wanted to try."

Farmer began fielding again in February after a 5-4 loss to Hernando.

Every throw ends with pain. And every game ends with ice on the shoulder.

To help ease the burden, Broner instructed Farmer not to make throws during practice. Instead, she would underhand the ball on most plays.

Her father, Brent Farmer, recalled how bad the pain got during a game against Bushnell South Sumter.

"She made a long throw from deep short, " Brent Farmer said. "After she made the throw she went down to her knees. It's extremely painful."

Farmer has seen a couple of doctors and has regular therapy. She thinks - and prays - the therapy will help, though surgery seems a more likely solution.

"I'm not big on doctors, " said Farmer, who is scheduled for surgery after classes end. "I'll deal with it if I have to."

Farmer is thankful she still has one more season and perhaps another chance to improve her play.

At the least, her aching shoulder has given her perspective on her career and just how quickly a rising star can be humbled.

"It's made me want state more, " Farmer said. "It hasn't been the year I'd imagined I guess you could say."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or 727 580-5315.

Fast Facts:

 

Class 4A state semifinal

Pasco (26-4) vs. Okeechobee (25-3)

When/where: Wednesday, 5 p.m. Plant City Stadium, Plant City

Admission: $7