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Arellano overcomes the odds, resurrecting her softball career

Fully Loaded pitcher Carla Arellano delivers during the Nationals softball tournament, which was held in Plano on July 24-26. Photo: Billy Watson/RSL

By KEVIN NARRO
RSL

PLANO – With the game in limbo, Carla Arellano had done all she could while in the pitcher’s circle. After allowing two runs in the first inning, the veteran right-hander settled in and allowed just one more run in the latter half of the game.

Her club trailed 3-1 late and she was in a jam. But Arellano wiggled out of trouble and walked over to the dugout between innings.
With her team down by two, Arellano handed the ball off to fellow righty Erika Cortez. She received loud cheers from the fans along with high fives and hugs from her Fully Loaded teammates.

Arellano did her part and her team responded with a win in extra innings.
On a weekend where it was her final Nationals tournament (July 24-26 in Plano) and in the midst of a global pandemic, the world stood still and the moment was all too perfect for a pitcher who once contemplated whether she’d ever play again.

Arellano grew up playing softball and has spent the past 10 years playing her travel ball for Fully Loaded.

The righty perfected her craft in the circle where she found a safe haven. Arellano’s unique style of offspeed pitches and her spin on the softball made it tough for hitters to get a hold of.

She found herself on the varsity team her freshman year and then came her sophomore year.

During her first scrimmage of that season, Arellano suffered a right knee injury that would end her season.

“I tore my ACL, PCL and basically everything in my knee, Arellano said. “At first I was shocked and scared; I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

It took Arellano six months of recovery for her to get back on the field. In fact Arellano was able to return that summer for travel ball.

“I was able to get back into travel ball and I used that summer to help me get ready for my junior season,” she said. “At first I was nervous and scared of just the fact I’d be pitching again, and my right leg is the one I push off of. Once I got to the field and was with my team, I shook all of that off. I had been here before and I can do it again.”

Arellano competed her junior year at Harlingen High and checked in a strong season for the Lady Cardinals, and even began to draw some attention from college scouts.

“Your junior year is when colleges start looking at you,” Arellano said. “That was a big year for me and some colleges started showing interest in me.”
Arellano was primed for her senior season and with college ball in her future plans. Unfortunately, Arellano suffered another season-ending injury.

This time it was her left knee. During the Mission Tournament against Laredo Alexander Arellano, she tore her ACL. For the second time in three years her season was done.

“When I fell, I knew I had done it again,” Arellano said. “I felt it and I just knew it happened again, and at that point it was disappointing. I was coming off a strong summer and for a few weeks I thought if I should even play anymore. But my parents and coaches gave me that little push that I needed to get back. I did it for myself and for everyone who still believed in me.”

Six months later, while in college and with her left knee healthy again, Arellano found herself back on the diamond.

Arellano found her new home at Coastal Bend College, which is a junior college in Beeville, Texas.

“I got cleared one day and the next I was pitching for my coaches at Coastal Bend,” she said.

Prior to her injury her senior year in high school, Coastal Bend had Arellano on their radar and she earned herself a scholarship, and a spot on the team.

“The coaches had me work out for a week and throw live batting practice, and I was always able to get back into softball shape.” Arellano said.

Due to COVID-19, Arellano’s first year at Coastal Bend was cut short. Despite the pandemic, Arellano, like she always has, found her way back to the place she knows best.

“I’m forever grateful that the coaches at Coastal Bend gave me an opportunity,” she said. “They took a chance on me. And for Andrew Casares, my travel ball coach, he always believed in me and helped reach out to Coastal Bend for me.”

Arellano still has some left in the tank. And while her travel ball career is wrapped up, it couldn’t have ended any better than it did.

“That is the thing with Fully Loaded; we are all a family and everyone there is going to have your back, and for me, as a player and as a pitcher, to have that last little moment of my time, it was awesome to just have that last special moment.”

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