Bam-tastic Voyage: Hayfield junior bounces back from injury in a big way

18 April 2024

HAYFIELD – What does an athlete do when his or her passion is taken away?

Hayfield junior Nora Bamlet became the team manager, and then she worked harder than she ever had before. After missing last softball season with an ACL and meniscus tear sustained during basketball season, Nora is back in the lineup for the Vikings and the catcher has emerged as one of the top hitters in the area.

After socking two dingers and driving in six runs in Hayfield’s first game of the season, Nora has stayed hot as she is hitting .500 with three homers, a double and 11 RBIs in four games.

“I would say she’s over 100 percent,” Hayfield co-head coach Craig Selk said. “Pre-injury she just did the basic weight room stuff. After physical therapy, she became a big fan of the weight room and she did anything she could to strengthen that knee. She’s better than before.”

One year ago, Nora was in the dugout as the Vikings rallied to the Section 1A championship game before coming up one win short of the state tournament. Instead of sulking or thinking about what could’ve been, Nora embraced her role as a statistician and supporter of her teammates.

Before Hayfield’s softball season began last year, Nora went into rehab in attack mode as she circled a softball camp at the University of Northern Iowa in early December of 2023 as her comeback date. That gave Nora 11 months to get back in top shape. She came through on that goal and it gave her a boost of confidence.

“I made it. (Physical rehab) taught me to stay focused on your goal,” Nora said. “Even if it doesn’t look like you’re making progress, you are. When I got to go to that camp, I had the biggest smile on my face. Now I feel like I appreciate softball even more.”

Nora’s smile got even bigger when she hit two home runs in her first game back in the Viking lineup in a 14-1 win over WEM.

“It was the most amazing thing,” Nora said. “It feels amazing to be back and play with my teammates. It also feels great to be able to help out the team in a different way from last year. Hopefully, helping my team reach our goal to end our season in Mankato.”

Nora has always embraced softball and the sport was instilled in her at a young age. Her father played high school baseball in Hayfield and her mother won two state softball championships in Michigan. As a middle child, Nora is in the unique position of being a student and mentor as her younger sister Ella Bamlet is freshman pitcher on the Hayfield JV team and her older sister Anna Bamlet is a sophomore pitcher at Coe College, where she has an ERA of 6.30 with two strikeouts in three appearances.

Ella said that she gained a new love for softball after watching Nora work so hard to recover from her injury last year.

“Nora just wanted to get back on the field last year. She would always ask if we wanted to go take some swings downstairs or play catch whenever I got back from practice. She had a good mood in the dugout, even when she couldn’t play,” Ella said. “I can always look up to both of my sisters and I can always ask them about the struggles they’ve had. They always help me with my struggles. Watching Nora last year, I was kind of scared for her because I didn’t know if she would be the best that she could be, but after we got to winter, I was so proud of her and realized that she could become a better version of herself.”

Selk said the Bamlet family has helped softball grow bigger in Hayfield at a time when many athletes are focusing on things like AAU basketball or JO volleyball in the spring.

“The Bamlet’s are 100 percent softball first and that has really rubbed off on other kids, my daughter Kenna included,” Selk said. “Softball has really risen in Hayfield and their family is a big part of that.”

Besides the hard work that Nora put in, she also had some teammates behind the scene. 

“I would like to add a huge thank you to my sports medicine team as well as a thank you to all of my supporters who stood by my side through my recovery,” Nora said.


The post Bam-tastic Voyage: Hayfield junior bounces back from injury in a big way appeared first on Austin Daily Herald.

Need help?

If you need support, please send an email to [email protected]

Thank you.