RIPLEY - It was routine. Like she had done hundreds of times in her life.  And then it happened.  Late last season, Ripley Lady Viking second baseman Meghan Brannon was rounding the bases after a hit.  As she was rounding third, she lost her balance and landed awkwardly on her wrist, breaking it.

“My feet flew out from under me, and I landed on my wrist,” Brannon recalled recently during some downtime between practices, “I broke the scaphoid, but at that point I didn’t know I had broken it.  I ended up playing the rest of the game.”

After the game, Brannon went to the hospital for x-rays, which confirmed the break.  From there, it was the typical labyrinth of specialists and rehab that every injured athlete must traverse.  But if it wasn’t evident from her finishing the game, Brannon’s determination and toughness was on full display during this stage of the process.

“To tell you what type of person she is, she had surgery in Charleston when we were at States,” said Lady Viking head coach Ken Swisher, referencing the WVSSAC State Softball Tournament, which is also held in Charleston. “When she got through with the surgery, she made her mom drive to the States.”

At the time of her injury last season, Brannon was in the midst of a tremendous offensive season.  In 35 at bats, she had amassed 18 hits, 9 RBIs, 5 stolen bases, and scored 14 runs; with a  .529 batting average, a .726 slugging percentage, and a .514 on-base percentage.  She was granted her medical release on August 6th, at which point she immediately began working toward her comeback.

“The toughest part of the rehab was getting the movement back,” Brannon says, flexing her wrist in various positions, “I think I was a little cautious running bases, I think that was the only hang-up I had mentally.”

Indeed, Brannon is picking up right where she left off last season so far this year.  In 61 at bats, she has scored 16 runs and has collected 24 hits, 12 RBIs, stolen three bases, and is batting .436, slugging .582, with an on base percentage of .443.  So, what is the key to her success?

“Practice,” she says quickly, “A lot of practice. And having confidence in myself.”

Swisher seconded that notion.

“Determination,” Swisher said, referring to the key to Brannon’s success this season, “She’s self driven.  When she watched us play at the States last year, her comment was ‘I want to play.’  She’s one of those when she sets her mind to it, she’s going to accomplish it.  She wants to make it to States this year, and she is helping set the tone.”

Brannon was very direct when asked what her and her team’s goals were for the rest of the season.

“I think we could win it all,” Brannon said, “If we play together, we can win it all.”

On a personal level, her goals for the rest of the season were, unsurprisingly, team-first.
“I would like to just keep playing my best,” Brannon said, “and helping the team.”

Clearly, Brannon has bounced back from her injury about as well as she could’ve hoped.  But, it’s that determination and toughness displayed in going through the injury and coming back to lead her team that has the Lady Vikings in position to go far in tournament play.  All of those qualities, plus Brannon’s character, is what Coach Swisher likes the most.

 “[She comes from] a great family,” Swisher said, “She’s just a super kid.  She’ll do anything in the world for you.  You just tell her what to do and she’ll try to do it.”