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Softball: PNC’s Lanay Parks strong after missing season with injury

Wheeler High graduate former Post-Tribune player year Lanay Parks is back pitching for Purdue North Central after recovering from torn

Wheeler High graduate and former Post-Tribune player of the year Lanay Parks is back pitching for Purdue North Central after recovering from a torn labrum. | PNC photo

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Updated: May 30, 2013 3:19PM



Lanay Parks capped off the perfect ending to her senior year at Wheeler High School leading her team to the Class 2A state softball championship in 2010.

It got even better when she realized her dream to play college softball at Purdue North Central in Westville the following season.

She wasn’t sure that would be a reality prior to the team’s state run.

“I am glad I was given the chance to show people what I could do at this level,” the right-handed hurler said. “It was a great feeling for me coming off a state win and being able to keep it going. I always wanted to play softball in college.”

It hasn’t been a walk in the park, though, at PNC. She experienced some highs and lows since she’s entered college.

Parks had a tremendous freshman year recording a school record 15 wins and 177 strikeouts in 2011. She also set the school mark for 13 strikeouts in one game.

“Her movement is the key,” PNC coach Jeff Boardman said. “Raw speed does not do it alone. You have to hit your spots and develop different pitches and that’s something Lanay had before she came to us. Her freshman year was awesome. She was everything she was cracked up to be.”

The team finished 22-27 that season and 7-11 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

But Parks began to feel pain in her shoulder. She had pitched through it as a freshman, but the pain worsened when she started losing feeling in her hand and losing control of her pitches. She knew it was time to have a doctor look at it.

“I tore my labrum and had surgery in May 2012,” she said. “I sat out a year because I knew we were getting the surgery.”

Parks thought sitting out might be a great way to relax and take it easy since she’s been playing continuously since she was 8-years-old. She was wrong.

“It was horrible sitting out,” said Parks, who is having a strong year at the plate this season batting .293, with eight doubles, two home runs and 22 RBI. “I thought a year off would be nice but I definitely missed it.”

It’s been a tough year for the team in 2013 with the Panthers just 9-38 after splitting a doubleheader with Goshen College on Saturday, but Parks is glad to be on the field and with her teammates.

“I’m so glad to be back this year,” Parks said. “We may have a bad record but we have a great team; we have a great defense and I owe all my successes to my team.”

The Panthers are starting eight freshmen this season, so expectations will be high next year. Parks should be at the top of her game next year, too.

“We’re looking to come back even stronger next year,” she said. “We’ll be really acclimated with each other since a lot of freshmen have had to step up this year. I know as a freshman it took me a little while because it’s a lot different from high school.”

Boardman is hoping it all comes together next year.

“She’s coming around but the big thing now is coming back and being able to throw the same way she did her freshman year,” he said. “She worked hard over the summer and built herself up and she’s almost there. I believe she’ll be back to 100 percent next year.”



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