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Chris Murphy, Published May 20 2013

D-G-F’s Bergee returns to softball team after a second knee surgery

Glyndon, Minn.

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton junior Kelly Oberg had seen coaches carry her teammate Kelly Bergee off the basketball court thanks to an ACL tear before. On Dec 13, 2012, in the first minute of a basketball game versus Pelican Rapids, Bergee went down again, but this time it was different.

Bergee got up.

“She got back up and everyone was like ‘OK, she’s fine. She doesn’t have to go through this again,’ ” Oberg said. “She wasn’t fine.”

After tearing her ACL in her right knee during her sophomore basketball season, Bergee tore the ACL in her left knee against Pelican Rapids. The difference between her sophomore year and her senior year, however, was there was no way Bergee was missing softball season.

And for a simple reason.

“She’s a softball player,” D-G-F softball coach Ron Drechsel said. “Some kids want to play for the team or whatever, but she wants to play for softball. A lot of kids would have packed it in, but she’s been here since Day 1. She just loves to play.”

It took Bergee five months after surgery to return to the softball field as a sophomore, but she missed out on the high school season. On May 14, almost exactly five months after tearing her ACL and four months after surgery this year, Bergee stepped to the plate versus Barnesville and drew a walk. In the stat sheet the walk won’t go down as an at-bat. That’s OK with Bergee because it was so much more to her than that.

To the all-section player a season ago, who has a career batting average in the .400s in her five years on the D-G-F varsity softball roster, stepping up to the plate counted more than any mark in a box score.

“I can’t even put into words how I felt to play,” Bergee said. “Those are my girls. I’ve played with them forever. I couldn’t give up on them.”

D-G-F didn’t give up on Bergee, either.

“We knew we’d need a playoff run to have her back,” Drechsel said. “She heals quicker than a lot of kids. She just wants to play softball.”

Just in case she wasn’t able to heal so quickly, D-G-F had her covered. The Rebels went 17-1 to earn a top seed in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 South Sub-section, which opens play today.

More importantly, the Rebels earned Bergee a few more at-bats as a Rebel with the dream of helping the team to state for the first time since 2007 a possibility.

It also helped to have a fellow Kelly with a laundry list of past injuries as a teammate.

“I’ve torn ligaments in basketball, I’ve sprained my ankle in softball and I’ve had herniated discs in my back, so we’ve been through this together,” Oberg said. “You have to take every game for what it’s worth because you never know when you’ll play it again. She played in her last basketball game without ever knowing it. You have to make every second count because you never know when it’s your last.”

It’s only fitting for a girl who played two years of varsity volleyball, four years of varsity basketball and five years of varsity softball to have an encore for a high school existence dedicated to representing her school. There was never a doubt in Bergee’s mind she’d have one last moment in the spotlight with the Rebels jersey on.

“It was tough, but you have to have that mindset that you’re determined to do it and you’re going to come back,” Bergee said. “I knew I was coming back.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548