One-Armed High School Softball Player Emulates Amazing Bat Trick
When Katelyn Pavey saw Marisa Arriaga's video performing a gravity-defying softball bat trick, she knew she could do it.
Once she did, her video went viral and she has become an inspiration.
Pavey was born with just a right arm, a condition known as Phocomelia, but hasn't let that stop her from enjoying softball, a game she's played since she was 2.
"I don't really think of it as a disability or anything because I've adapted to things differently," says Pavey, a 16-year-old junior at Lanesville (Indiana) High School.
She plays center field for the Lanesville Eagles and also plays AAU softball for the Derby City Crush 18U team based in Kentucky. Typically a leadoff hitter, she's hitting close to .600 and is getting recruited by college coaches, but her inspiring video is what has garnered a lot of attention.
"I saw the girl from Texas, Marisa, do hers and a lot of other people try bat tricks, and I've always wanted to try it and see if I could do it," Pavey says. "I thought it looked fun so I wanted to try it and inspire people."
She came home from school Thursday afternoon and had her sisters, 13-year-old Sydney and 12-year-old Mackenzie, record her emulating Arriaga's bat trick in the back yard.
Pavey kicked the bat up with her left foot, threw it down, picked it back up by the knob in the air, tossed it behind her back and caught it -- all with her right hand. Then, once she set her stance, she kicked the tee that was holding the softball, then kicked the ball in mid-air high enough so she could swing and hit the ball with the bat. It took her about five tries to perfect the trick, she said.
Getting the ball to come off the tee and kick it high enough in the air was the toughest part, Pavey said.
"I could do everything else," Pavey says. "That just took me the longest time."
Since the video was posted, she's been getting tons of new Instagram follower requests and her friends have told her she's becoming Twitter famous. She even got a call from a staffer with Ellen Degeneres' talk show.
I want to inspire everybody, no matter if you have physical disabilities.Katelyn Pavey
"I can't believe how it went viral," her father, Eric Pavey, said.
Growing up, Pavey had to deal with other people staring at her and making comments. Infielders moved in thinking she couldn't hit the ball, her father said, but she hasn't let that get to her.
"When another team has never seen her, they don't respect her as far as, 'Everybody in, she can't hit,' " Eric said. "She was determined to be on the same playing field as them, and she's getting recruited by colleges. She's overcome those obstacles."
Playing the outfield, it took her two to three years to master the transfer from her glove to her throwing hand. She can catch the ball, tuck her glove underneath her left armpit and grab the ball from her glove and throw it back to the infield just .02 seconds slower than someone with two hands.
"I want to inspire everybody, no matter if you have physical disabilities," Pavey says. "I don't know if this video will help inspire people, but it will show them that, 'Hey, I have one arm and I can do this like someone with two arms.' "