Molly Moon admits that interviews aren’t really her thing.
“I just don’t like to brag on myself,” she said. “It feels so weird.”
But even Moon will admit that putting herself in a position to play college softball, despite numerous setbacks as a high school player, is a pretty impressive thing.
Moon made it official Wednesday afternoon when she signed a letter of intent to play softball at Andrew College during a signing ceremony at Eastside High’s media center.
It was a sweet deal, considering the way her senior year at Eastside ended. Moon injured her elbow early in the 2016 Region 4-AAAA tournament, and never saw the field again for the Eagles. It was her second injury in as many seasons — her junior season was hampered by a knee injury — and after that second injury, Moon said she could feel the doubts starting to creep up in her mind.
“After my second injury, I felt like getting a scholarship at all from anywhere was kind of a surprise,” Moon said. “So I’m very excited about it.”
And ultimately, Moon said the setbacks may have actually helped sharpen her focus as softball player.
“I think with having injuries, I’ve had to work harder,” she said. “When you get an injury, your spot’s not always guaranteed. So it just made me want to work harder, and I’ve been able to do that.”
Moon’s penchant for hard work payed off, as she went 9-3 in the pitcher’s circle before getting injured, with a 2.24 ERA and 35 strikeouts.
Moon teamed up with Lauren Beshears, a Young Harris signee, to give Eastside coach Heather Wood arguably the best pitching staff in Region 4-AAAA. It’s for that reason Wood can attest first hand to the dedication Moon put in for her 2016 campaign.
“She’s one of those people who just really works hard in the offseason,” Wood said. “Because of that, Molly was able to bounce back from that injury last year. She had some tough luck again this year, but I know because of that offseason work ethic, she’ll get ready and be ready to play at the collegiate level.”
Moon said she selected Andrew College because she felt the school would give her the most playing time, and “also, they offered me the most money, so it was my cheapest option.”
But it’s also the option that was most likely to give Moon a shot to make an impact in her favorite place on the softball field. And she said she’s chomping at the bit to get back in the circle and start throwing again.
“I’m not really worried about my knee injury flaring up again,” she said. “But I haven’t really done much with throwing since my elbow injury. But I’m sure it won’t be a big deal.”
In that assessment, Moon is echoing the confidence of her doctors who told her that after the four to six week recovery period, her elbow should be fine. She received her offer from Andrew before the elbow injury, and the fact that the school didn’t back off from her was a big source of encouragement for her.
Wood said she was glad to see this day come for her senior pitcher, because it represents a time of new beginnings for Moon, made possible by her unwillingness to quit at the most challenging times.
“That timing of the season for her injuries, it was just real tough to watch,” Wood said. “We knew when (the second injury) happened, even if she did what she was supposed to do, she didn’t have enough time to come back. It was hard to watch because she had such a great career here, but I’m glad to see this (signing) happen for her today.
“We didn’t want that one injury or a couple of injuries to overshadow what she’s worked so hard to do here. And her signing really means a lot and represents what we have here as a program at Eastside.”
Now, Moon can focus on getting ready for her future without as much uncertainty. But she insists she’ll never forget where she’s come from and what Eastside has meant to her career and growth.
“I’m excited to start something new at Andrews,” she said. “But I really liked Eastside. I liked playing at Eastside and being with all my teammates and all that we experienced here. I’m definitely going to miss it.”