GREENVILLE – Susie Blocher, Greenville class of 2022, an NFCA High School All-American playing for the Greenville Lady Wave softball program had her college career cut short due to a problem back requiring surgery.
“I thought my career was over,” said Blocher. “For the future of my health, I thought it was over.”
The highly recruited Blocher settled on NCAA DIII Muskingum University over opportunities to play for larger division schools but soon had her career cut short with hopes of playing for the Lady Muskies.
A four-year Lady Wave starter, Blocher carried a .519 batting average her junior season with 10 home runs, 13 doubles, 57 RBI, and 32 runs scored in 106 plate appearances on a team that went 31-1 before falling deep in tournament play.
Playing her senior season while battling back problems, Blocher had a respectable .424 batting average, 10 home runs, 36 RBI, 3 doubles, a triple, and 9 stolen bases in just 85 plate appearances with the Lady Wave going 29-4 before a late round tournament loss.
“I have had two surgeries on my back,” Blocher said. “The last one fixed it.”
“Susie is a great kid with an amazing family,” said veteran Lady Wave Hall of Fame softball coach, Jerrod Newland. “She works very hard in the classroom and the field. She has been through a lot in the past 24 months and the doctors and God has a plan for her. She is clear and now on a mission to get back at it.”
June 2023 reconstruction surgery requiring four screws and two plates defusing the bottom of the L-5 to the pelvis was the remedy for the problem.
“That is where the problem was and hearing that at 19 years old was kind of scary,” said Blocher. “Being able to return in mid-October didn’t feel real at the time but it is feeling good now.”
The power-hitting first baseman will be working to get back in the groove when she returns to Muskingum following Christmas break to rekindle her softball career.
“When I return in January I’ll be back to winter ball and that’s when it gets real,” Blocher said. “I’ll be going to Florida in March and will be returning as a sophomore after a year off of softball.”
Originally a catcher for the Lady Wave, Blocher tried to get behind the plate again but has shelved the idea going forward.
“I still have three years, I am going back to first,” she said. “I tried to catch but my back hurt a little bit so I am going to try first base, not as much mobility, diving, and things like that. I have been having good luck so far.”
Blocher is working out locally to get her swing back before heading off to the Lady Muskies.
“I am going to the Academy this winter trying to get my swing back,” noted Blocher. “I haven’t done much with swinging the past two months that I’ve been released but I’m trying to get that swing back that I always loved.”
“Susie will work hard and surround herself with like-minded individuals to get on the path,” Newland stated. “She popped in the Academy the other day and it was a breath of fresh air. She has an aurora about her that makes people smile and enjoy. She walked in and 17-year-olds were gitty to come give her a hug and say hey.”
The Academy, located at 615 Riffle Ave in Greenville, is an indoor sports practice facility with a turf infield, pitching lanes, batting cages, and hitting stations.
“There has been a lot of therapy coming back,” she said. “I couldn’t come back all at once so the journey I have been on these last two months has been a little strenuous, a little hard. It’s got in my head a little bit. It’s not as easy as it used to be but it’s worth it.”
Blocher has her sights set on earning her spot back in the starting lineup for the Muskingum Lady Muskies this spring in a game she misses.
“That is what makes it even better because I get pushed even more than I was before,” Blocher said of competing for her spot, “trying to earn back what I had hopefully.”
“She is quite amazing and seems to be given a chance to get herself on the mix at school,” said Newland. “Doctors and medicine are unbelievable and she will push through. Her work ethic and determination will be what sets her over the top in this journey back to the field.”
“I really did miss it” Blocher said. “It was hard last year because I was still part of the team just as a manager. I took a step back last year just to focus on the problem and try to fix it. It was hard just watching and sitting out – not something I have had to often do, and the coaches said this best – I may be a better player mentally.”
“Susie Blocher, No. 15 is someone who I’d never pick against,” Coach Newland concluded. “She will excel on and off the field, she is ready to play and wait a few years for a coaching role. You better believe that bucket is ready and waiting – just a few more years.”