Talk about tough luck, and the timing couldn’t have been worse.
Olivia Kim was enjoying a standout girls softball season as the ace pitcher and best hitter for the Langley Saxons. The senior was looking forward to potentially leading the high-school team deep into the playoffs. She already had been chosen as the Player of the Year in the Liberty District and 6D North Region.
Then, Kim suffered a season-ending injury to her right shoulder, occurring during the tournament-championship game. The injury required surgery that was performed June 15.
Kim was hurt sliding headfirst into second base after being caught in a rundown following her RBI single. She still got the win, pitching four scoreless and hitless innings with five strikeouts in the Saxons’ 6-0 victory over Washington-Liberty. With the bat, the No. 3 hitter had a hit, one RBI and she stole a base.
“I feel so bad for her,” Langley coach Mike Sharkey said. “She is a team leader and you hate to see her four-year high-school career end that way. She was having a great season.”
That mishap was not the first trip to the injury rodeo for Kim. Issues with the same shoulder caused her to miss significant playing time during her freshman and sophomore seasons. She also had surgery that time, as well.
“I definitely know what to expect as far as recovery and rehabilitation,” Kim said.
Kim’s junior year was expected to be her breakout season for Langley, but the campaign was canceled because of the pandemic. When the shortened 2021 season began, Kim was ready and was indeed having a showcase performance.
She had a three-hit, two-RBI effort in Langley’s second game, then homered and fanned 17 in the Saxons’ third game.
In the 14 games she played, Kim batted .591 with 17 RBI and 26 hits. She had four doubles, two triples, a home run, walked eight times and struck out just three times in 44 at-bats. Her slugging percentage was .841.
“Olivia hits the ball as hard as any player I have seen,” Sharkey said.
On the mound, Kim had a 12-1 record. In 91 innings she had 139 strikeouts and a 3.89 earned run average. She struck out 17 hitters in one game.
“I never focus on my stats or get caught up in that. I was just focusing on playing game-to-game,” Kim said. “I was playing well and felt good and confident, so that makes me more determined and motivated to make a full recovery. It’s so disappointing and sad, though, not to be there playing for my teammates.”
Kim will attend Christopher Newport University, where she hopes to play softball.