For local softball player Jennifer Ames, coming to San Jose State gave her the opportunity to play in front of her family friends. Plus, she had someplace to do her laundry.
Little did she know that two years into her softball career (2009), everything could be put into jeopardy with just one pitch. On a road trip to El Paso her sophomore year, Jen felt something not right in her arm. Actually, she could not feel her arm.
A diagnosis from the doctor showed she had torn her biceps tendon and labrum in her pitching shoulder. Ames' labrum was repaired, but her biceps had to be permanently removed from its origin and re-attached below her shoulder joint. The doctors told her she had maybe a 25 percent chance of coming back and pitching for the Spartans. Instead, Jen took the next five months after the operation to rehabilitate her shoulder.
"Jen worked very hard all summer and was fully cleared just five months after her operation," said Paul-Wayne Mahlow, assistant athletic trainer. "Because of her hard work, she was at least one month ahead of when her surgeon expected her to return to play."
Ames returned to the circle for the 2010 season, making her debut in the first game of the season against Brigham Young. She pitched in 26 games that year and ended up pitching in 74 games total in the next three years after her surgery.
"I think coming back from this injury is one of my greatest accomplishments in college," said Ames. "There was no way I was giving up softball, especially because I knew I had eligibility left. I wanted to come back, and I have to give a lot of the credit to PW who spent three hours a day with me over the summer in the training room on my rehab."
Ames ended her time in the circle with stats in a number of San Jose State career lists. Unfortunately, because of the operation and injury, she found that her pitches did not have always gone where she wanted. Ames ended her career on the top of one list she may not like but may have been influence by her should problems - wild pitches at 48.
On the positive side of her career, Ames is listed in the top-10 in strikeouts with 185 (8th), saves with 4 (T5th), appearances at 112 (6th), games started with 58 (9th) and innings pitched at 380, (9th).
Among her career highlights were two big wins for the program against nationally-ranked teams. The first win came against #11 Oklahoma at the Judi Garman Softball Classic in 2010 as the team used a four-run second inning to take an early 5-0 lead and held on to win 5-4. The other win came this past season as the Spartans upset #16 Stanford, 2-1, at SJSU Field.
"The Stanford game was very special because it took a total team effort to win that game," said Ames. "We had not beaten them since 2002, and this win was extra special because we were juggling players coming and going because of class schedules."
When she walks across that stadium floor, it will be the second time Ames has graduated in Spartan Stadium. Five years ago, her graduation ceremony from Evergreen Valley High School was held at Spartan Stadium. Maybe that was a sign to Ames showing she made the right choice by coming to San Jose State!
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