Lorimer's journey to becoming a leader goes beyond softball
For Central Michigan softball’s redshirt senior Evelyn Lorimer, getting one year of eligibility back wasn't enough to give her a full four years on the field.
Between a torn ACL, a broken arm and a dislocated elbow, the Spring Lake native has had four surgeries in two years. Though she is back for the season, the process to her recovery wasn't short.
“It’s been a tough last two years to say the least," she said. "I’m glad to be back and healthy for my senior year.”
It was an adjustment to sit seasons out for a player who started 13 games as a freshman at CMU. She appeared in 27 games in the 2013 season.
Lorimer rehabbed for nearly two years and didn't start hitting again until January to prepare for this season. She said the rehabilitation process was “more than enough.”
“It took a long time to get through it, and at some points it wasn't all that easy too keep moving forward, but that's where my teammates kept me positive,” Lorimer said. “I didn't play in practice at all last year and obviously had no game action until this year, so I’m still trying to get back into it. I have a couple of months left and I am excited.”
As a sophomore, Lorimer started on the field nearly every game. She led the team with 18 stolen bases.
Currently a senior, Lorimer has started 23 of the 33 games she has played in. The senior is hitting at a .180 batting average (9-for-50), has scored seven runs and tallied four RBIs.
Lorimer said she needed more than just her own thoughts to get back on the field this season.
“I don’t think my coaches and my teammates were going to let me give up on myself,” Lorimer said. “They were always encouraging and pushing me to get better and stronger. Now we have some injured girls on our team and it’s nice to be able to help them through it."
Freshman shortstop Morgan Gardner, who said earlier this season that Lorimer is someone she “looked up to,” said she brings multiple attributes to helping this team.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her on a down day,” Gardner said. “I’ll miss her energy and happiness around this team when she is gone because she's helped me with anything since I’ve been here.”
Senior pitcher Rachael Knapp, who has been teammates with Lorimer since she was a freshman, said Lorimer does a lot more than just perform on the field.
“(Lorimer) is such a positive person, I think she brings so much energy and experience to our team,” Lorimer said. “She is such a supportive person, especially behind the scenes where other people can’t see it, she does a lot for all of us.”
Getting to the Top
The Chippewas are currently tied with Ball State for first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division as they look for a MAC regular season title.
It has been four years since CMU has won the MAC Tournament. The Chippewas also hold the record for the most MAC regular season titles (nine), but they haven’t been crowned the MAC regular season champions since 2004.
Lorimer believes her team could do more than just win a MAC title with their group this season.
“My freshman year was the last time that we won the MAC Tournament, so I think we are really aiming one step at a time to get to the MAC Tournament and win it, then head to regionals,” Lorimer said. “I totally think this team has the capability, we have a bond like any other team I’ve ever been on.
“It reminds me a lot of that team from my freshman year with the encouragement we all give each other.”
The 5-foot-9 right fielder said as far as the season goes, what she wants to accomplish has to do with the team rather than just herself.
“All I want is to help this team get back their because they deserve it, we all do,” Lorimer said. “I want everyone to play our hardest and do everything we can to get back (to the MAC Tournament), and honestly a regular season championship would be great too.”
Head coach Margo Jonker said Lorimer is the type of player who would give anything to help the team get what it needs.
“Evie is the kind of player that will do whatever it takes to get back to that championship, and she’s been a good leader with her actions on and off the field,” Jonker said. “The injuries she has had to deal with have been tough on her, but she found a way to lead through it all and is a key piece of making this team win games.”
Looking back, Lorimer said Jonker made a huge impact on her decision to come to CMU.
“Way back in 2012, she challenged me and said, ‘You know what? I think you're good, but I think you could be better,’ and I really liked that because I always wanted push myself and I always wanted to be better, so she challenged me to do more and I really liked that.”
The Chippewas still have 11 games remaining before they will head to the MAC Tournament which starts May 10 in Akron, Ohio.
Life after softball
When it comes to life for Lorimer outside of the foul lines, Lorimer has a hobby that she truly enjoys — painting
“I really enjoy being able to just get away from everything and paint things, it’s probably something people wouldn't know about me,” Lorimer said.
After she graduates from CMU, Lorimer is getting married in September. It will be a "big milestone in her life" after getting her degreee, she said.
Jonker said that Lorimer, who only has limited time left in her college softball career, will be remembered around here in a couple of ways.
“It has been a challenging path for (Lorimer) with the surgeries she has had, and for her to work hard enough to come back says a lot about who she is,” Jonker said. “She has a true love for the game and a even bigger love for CMU softball. So that is impressive to me, she may not have the same skill set she did before the injury, but she will be remembered for the hard work she put in to get back on this team, and for the person she is outside the game.”
Lorimer herself said that she isn't looking to be remembered “by the status quo”, but more for other reasons instead.
“I’m not one of those players that will go down in the record books or anything, but I would just like to be remembered for encouraging and being there for my teammates on and off the field,” Lorimer said. “That’s what it is all about and that, and that’s what coach Jonker has really encouraged on this team, and that is why we are so successful.”
After fighting through four different surgeries and getting back on the field for her senior year, Lorimer has one last chance to get that “successful” finish and goal of a MAC title she has pushed to get back on the field for.