Auria Mounts is proof love can conquer almost anything.
Mounts has had a love affair with softball since the day she was old enough to realize she had a special talent for the game.
That relationship was tested during her junior year at Palmetto, when Mounts suffered an arm injury that sidelined her for the second half of the season.
She had to adjust her style of pitching to get back to the level she once enjoyed. It wasn't easy and there was pain, but Mounts' love for the game kept her going.
The rewards came this season when she helped carry the Palmetto softball team to unexpected success. As a result, she was selected the 2015 Bradenton Herald All-Area Softball Player of The Year.
The injury was somewhat of a surprise, but later Mounts learned it had been coming for a long time. She suffered a stress fracture in the right forearm of her pitching arm.
"I didn't know when it happened. I was at practice one day and couldn't even throw overhand without it being painful," Mounts said. "I had X-rays, and the doctor told me i had a stress fracture and had to wear a cast for six weeks."
Mounts later learned from her pitching coach, Tammy Bryant, the injury was caused because her forearm constantly hit her hip when pitching. Eventually, it fractured.
"It's common for pitchers to get an injury from that like an irritation or tendinitis, but a fracture is rare," Palmetto assistant coach Brian Bryant said."They usually then have to wear a sleeve and change the way they pitch."
Under the tutelage of Tammy Bryant, Mounts altered her pitching style and initially wore a sleeve. Eventually, she managed to change her delivery without sacrificing her riseball, which was her best pitch and the one causing most of her problems with the injury.
"I had to straighten my arm out instead of hitting it; that was hard at first, and it took about a month to get used to it," Mounts said. "The heat made it hard to pitch with the sleeve, but it didn't matter to me because I was doing what I love."
All the work paid off last season when Mounts dominated the area with her pitching and her bat. She finished with a 16-5 record and 0.88 ERA. She had 195 strikeouts in 135 innings while compiling a .387 batting average at the plate.
Palmetto defeated area powers Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Braden River for the first time in Mounts' high school career, and she pitched complete games in all of the victories.
"People underestimated us. No one understood that even though we were young we still had the ability to beat all those teams," Mounts said.
Many of them also didn't know how much Mounts improved and how effectively she used her time when she was unable to play.
"It was very difficult to sit out because I always want to be out on the field helping my teammates, but I watched the games and tried to focus on the things I needed to do to become a better pitcher," Mounts said. "I learned a new form of pitching. Coach Tammy Bryant really helped me. She showed me a different way to pitch and still be as strong."
Palmetto head coach Tammy Stinton said Mounts' work ethic and ability to overcome obstacles are her best attributes.
"She is an amazing young lady who has put in a lot of hours and has a lot of pride in being the best she can be. Stinton said. "She is not afraid of working hard and handles adversity well. It's a challenge to her."