Her next big stop will still be the softball fields at UNC-Greensboro. However, when she is able to participate with the Spartans softball team has been delayed.
Tori Dalehite, the standout Cedar Ridge High School softball player, who late last year signed on to play for UNCG, suffered an injury during a basketball game at E. Chapel Hill High School.
“I was just running up the court and my knee gave out,” said Dalehite, who played basketball and volleyball throughout high school in addition to softball. “I watched the video and it just looks like my knee quit working.
“It’s happened twice, and neither time did I hear a ‘pop,’ which is what most people say happens with this type of injury. It’s happened on each knee,” she said.
The MRI results showed a sprained MCL and a completely torn ACL. She underwent surgery Feb. 27, to repair the damage. Dalehite, a senior, was unable to play softball during her freshman season because of a similar injury on her other knee.
Once that knee healed, though, Dalehite was able to put together two impressive seasons for the Lady Red Wolves, including leading the team to two consecutive Big 8 Conference Championships, the first in the school’s history. Both seasons the team reached the third round of the state playoffs. She was Cedar Ridge’s Player of the Year after her junior year.
Allen Byrd, who coached Dalehite during her sophomore and junior years, said he feels most disappointed for Dalehite because she will miss the entire season recovering.
“It was hard to hear in the beginning,” Coach Byrd said. “I was more devastated for her as an individual. She’s a great kid, a great ball player. I had high hopes for her senior season.”
Coach Byrd said he had planned to move Dalehite from her usual position at second base to the shortstop spot.
“That was the game plan,” he said.
Coach Byrd said Dalehite’s teammates were also devastated.
“They were all in shock,” he said. “Tori is one of those kids who is very well liked. Whether in the classroom or on the field. They were hurt that she wasn’t going to play. Selfishly, they want her on the field because she is that leader. She is that coach on the field. What she brings to the game is much more than a great glove and a great bat.”
Dalehite said she called the head coach at UNCG when she received the results of the MRI.
“We talked about what happened and she said that I would have to work to get stronger and that I would be back with them next season.”
Coach Byrd has zero doubt that Dalehite is up to that task. “She’s a tough young lady. She’s gonna fight. She’s gonna be back in there. She’s going to be successful in anything she attempts. She will bounce back.”
Byrd said, regardless of Dalehite’s injury, she’s still a part of the Lady Red Wolves team. “She is on my roster. She is a captain. Tori has a great understanding of the game and can help these younger players in ways that I can’t. I have no doubt that if, at some point, she wanted to coach she could definitely do that.”
For now, though, Dalehite will be in full recovery mode.
“It’s gotten to where it hurts less and less every day,” she said. “The swelling is starting to go down. I am at home. The doctors said it would probably be best for me to stay home a week to avoid my leg getting bumped in the hall between classes. I’m staying home, keeping it straight so it won’t get locked into one place. I keep it iced, off and on. I have physical therapy starting next week, twice a week for eight weeks.”
Dalehite, who says she plans to master in physical therapy, will be getting to know the work of PTs quite well. And she has managed to keep her spirits up and welcomes the positive outlook her mother placed on the injury.
“My mom said, in the end, it could have happened at a worse time. Having it happen now is probably better than when I’d already moved on to UNCG.”