CORNISH — An inch-and-a-half tear didn’t stop Britann McGahey, who persevered all season through the labrum injury in her right shoulder.
A senior, McGahey helped lead Ringling to a state tournament berth.
On Oct. 8 in Oklahoma City, Binger-Oney's Shelby Riggs hit a walk-off single that ended Ringling’s season in the quarterfinal contest. The Lady Bobcats won the Class A State Championship, but Riggs' hit marked a painful ending to McGahey's journey, one which involved some adverse moments.
On Sept. 23, after Ringling moved to within one win of a district championship, McGahey stared into the distance, pondering which words would best describe those times — in addition to her subsequent will and determination.
“I’ve had a lot of them,” McGahey said of those moments through which she’s persevered. “I feel it all the time. I’m kind of used to it. I can’t really tell anymore. It’s hard to describe, it really is. I just kind of look past it, know what I need to do and it usually gets me through it.
“I can’t let my team down.”
She wasted no time confirming that thoughts about her legacy helped her persevere.
“It helped me a lot,” she said. “Ever since we watched Hope McLemore and Co. play in that state championship game, it’s always been my goal and my dream to get to where they were.”
McGahey is one of the two seniors on the softball team. Harlie Eubanks joined the squad for her final prep year.
She and her dad, Brian, recalled the scene when they watched Ringling win a Class 2A state championship in 2008.
“It was inspiring,” Britann McGahey said.
As Ringling progressed through its season, teammates noticed her sacrifice and commitment.
“She’s done great,” freshman Raylee Pogue said on Sept 23, after Ringling moved to within one win of a District 11 Championship. “She’s just pushed through so much with her shoulder. I mean, it’ll start hurting, but she just keeps playing, just like it’s nothing.
“She’s really good to have on the team.”
McGahey persevered through it because doctors gave her a good prognosis.
“I can’t damage it any worse,” McGahey recalled.
McGahey plans to play basketball, and have surgery after her campaign on the hardwood.
Through the season
When the Lady Blue Devils hosted Lone Grove on Aug. 20, McGahey played center field.
McGahey played center field in that game, a 7-4 defeat, which marked the end of Ringling’s four-game losing streak, the longest of its entire season.
Following that loss to the eventual Lake Country Conference champions, Ringling coach Steve Pybas made some adjustments defensively.
When the OSSAA released its final rankings on Sept. 28 Ringling, at the No. 7 spot, achieved its highest position since the program was No. 1 in 2008.
The Lady Blue Devils — who received seven first-place votes in that poll, second-most in the class — clinched its state tournament berth on Oct. 2.
Those adjustments played a role in Ringling’s opportunity to play on the biggest stage.
Irrespective of the setting, when McGahey makes a throw from her position at second base, Pybas can tell that she’s hurting.
“She just sets a great example. She’ll rah-rah a little bit, but not much,” Pybas said. “She’s toughed it out. She’s a great kid who sets a great example. They know she’s hurt, that she plays through the pain, kind of like Zeb (Willis) did last spring in baseball. She doesn’t complain, stretches, ices and does the little things.
Offensively, McGahey hit from the No. 2 slot, behind London Lewis.
“We don’t have an easy out,” Pybas said. “I think we do a good job of competing at the plate, battling, protecting, and doing whatever’s necessary.
“London and Britann, they set the tone. If they have a bad at-bat the first time up, they’re really good about making adjustments the next time they come through the order because they don’t make the same mistake twice.
“They’re all tough competitors. They don’t want to come out of the game.”
UPDATE: This story was updated at 5:10 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2015, to add the specific date in which McGahey stared into the distance, offering those thoughts about her adverse experiences.