July 13, 2014
BOISE, Idaho - Boise State softball's all-time home run leader will return in 2015 for a fifth year of eligibility. Devon Bridges was granted a medical hardship by the NCAA Friday, after her senior season in 2014 was cut short by a recurring back injury. Bridges is a three-time all-conference selection.
"I tried staying positive throughout the summer waiting to hear the verdict," Bridges said." When (head coach Erin Thorpe) called me I was so excited. I feel so grateful to receive a fifth year and be able to play with this team and represent Boise State for another year."
Bridges appeared in 13 games last season between flare ups. Her last game was March 9, before being forced to sit out the rest of the year. She started at her customary first base position in her first three games, but was relegated to designated player for the final 10 appearances. Bridges and Boise State applied for the additional year after the season.
"We are so excited Devon has officially been awarded a medical hardship waiver," Thorpe said. "Devon has been such an important part of our program over the last four years and it was very difficult to see her unsuccessfully battle through that injury in her senior season. I am very excited to see her have another opportunity to finish her amazing career."
A career .373 hitter, Bridges has 180 hits, 43 home runs and 153 runs batted in while boasting a .687 slugging percentage and .470 on-base percentage. She is already the Boise State career leader in home runs and RBI and will enter next season in the top 10 nationally among active student-athletes in both categories. Bridges is also within reach of Boise State's career hits record (216) and holds the highest career slugging and on-base percentages in school history, while her batting average ranks second.
"I'm looking forward to having another year," Bridges said. "I love Boise and this team and feel blessed that I was given another year to play. I'm trying to just take this year and enjoy it as much as I possibly can and get back on the field with the team."
Even during the injury-plagued 2014 campaign Bridges was able to produce and remained one of the most-feared hitters in the region. She batted .409 with nine hits, including a home run and a double while driving in 10 runs. Opponents also pitched around Bridges. She was issued nine walks, including one intentional free pass, and hit by a pitch for a .576 on-base percentage. She has been walked 82 times in her career, the most in Boise State history.
"It was really difficult to sit through my senior season and try to let my back heal," Bridges said, "but I was given constant support by my family, coaches and teammates. That support made it much easier to be at peace with it and help my team however I could."
Now that Bridges knows she will have another opportunity to help the Broncos on the field, she turns her full attention to getting healthy and being able to play at 100 percent.
"It is a slow process, but my back is feeling much better and keeps progressing," Bridges said. "While I'm not where I hope to be quite yet, I'm encouraged and pleased by the gains I've been able to make this summer."