Joliet West’s Tresa Fahrner stays positive through injury recovery

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Joliet West’s Tresa Fahrner had a choice.

Working on sliding drills early in the season, Fahrner broke her right tibia sliding into a base.

Make the most of the situation or pout about her bad luck? For the senior shortstop, her answer was never in doubt.

“They say the game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” Fahrner said. “I’m not going to let my injury keep me down. If I get down, it will just carry over to my teammates. I really do believe the game is more mental than physical so I just have to stay at it.”

Readying for a promising senior year, Fahrner looked to be one of the area’s top returning players following an impressive junior campaign. She, the hit .465 at the dish with five home runs, 32 RBI, 16 stolen bases and 59 hits overall in 2012.

A young West team finished 19-19 overall, including upsetting top-seeded Minooka for a 4A regional title.

Just days into her senior campaign, her hopes were dashed with the bone break in her right leg. There would be no dwelling on the injury though. It happened, and she moved on.

“We’re practicing slides, and my foot caught on the base,” Fahrner said. “It just kind of happened.”

As for what the rest of her senior year holds, that depends on Fahrner. She had the cast removed the first week of April and has slowly eased back into practice.

Joliet West coach Heather Suca says her star senior is at about 25 percent right now and working her way up. Fahrner is eying a return late in the regular season prior to regionals depending on how her leg responds to physical therapy.

“Tresa is a natural leader and a four-year varsity player,” Suca said. “I think it helps that she’s as vocal as she is on the bench. She’s not sitting there pouting and sad. She has taken the positives of it and tries to help the younger players, especially the ones in the middle infield who are playing her position.”

And in practice or in games, that’s where you will find her, on the bench with her teammates helping whenever she can. Suca lost her starting shortstop but gained an additional member of her coaching staff.

“I’m trying to be an assistant coach,” Fahrner said with a smile. “I think it helps the team come together without me. I’ve really liked being on the sidelines, coaching and helping the team out. Hopefully it’s a good experience for them, and when I come back it will help more.”

In the meantime, Fahrner will keep on working at rehabbing, strengthening her leg for game action. The Tigers are playing well in her absence with a deep lineup putting up some impressive run totals.

Through Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Homewood-Flossmoor, Joliet West owns a 9-5 record. The Tigers have scored seven runs or more eight times.

Jennifer Ames (5 homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs), Julia Liceaga (12 RBI, 11 runs), Kristine Bourg (.444 average, 20 runs), Joy Treasure (13 runs, .391 average) and Katie McKay (13 RBI, 6-5 record) have led the Tigers through the season’s early goings.

“I think it’s good that we have a lot of girls who are all versatile and can move around from position to position,” Fahrner said. “It could be a really promising year, and I’m really excited for it.”

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