News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

May 3, 2014

Allee racking up big numbers for resurgent ISU softball

Sycamore shortstop has battled rare disease all her life

TERRE HAUTE — A glance at the records is all that’s necessary to determine that Morgan Allee has had a remarkable softball career at Indiana State.

The senior shortstop went into this weekend’s final series of the regular season at Southern Illinois ranked second all-time in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage behind three different former Sycamores; she’s the all-time leader in OPS.

Among single-season records, she’s first in on-base percentage (.505 this season going into Saturday’s game) and second in slugging percentage (.610, for a 2014 OPS of 1.115); first and second in stolen bases, with a very good chance to also finish first and second in runs scored; first and third in times hit by pitch (currently sporting a huge purple blotch surrounding a yellowish imprint of a softball on the inside of her right knee); and in the top 10 in hits, doubles, homers and total bases, with a chance to finish atop the standings in total bases with a good weekend.

Although she’s been a Sycamore for just two seasons, after playing two years at Iowa Central Community College, she’s also among the career leaders in runs and homers with an outside chance of being first all-time in steals (she’s second, trailing former West Vigo star Amy Vaira by two) and, if her body can take any more bruises, HBPs (she’s third, also two behind the all-time leader).

Could she be the best ISU has ever had? Allee doesn’t worry about such things and coach Shane Bouman, in just his third year at ISU, won’t go there.

“She’s just an athletic kid, with a lot of hustle and energy,” is about all Bouman will say. “She’s fun to be around, the kind of girl you want on your team and not on the other team.

“We want athletic kids who can put pressure on the other team and make plays defensively, and she’s done that.”

So we’ve determined that Morgan Allee is pretty good. We haven’t even scratched the surface, however, about why she’s remarkable.

I I I

It’s called abetalipoproteinemia, and Allee was diagnosed with it when she was 2 years old.

Those who have it are unable to digest fats, and there are only about 100 of those people worldwide.

It’s pretty safe to say none of the others are Division I softball stars.

“I’m pretty lucky,” Allee said recently, without a trace of irony. “Most [of those 100 people] are in wheelchairs, and don’t function well.” Life expectancy, she guesses, is “about 30.”

To combat her condition, Allee takes 56 Vitamin E pills and one Vitamin K pill every day, plus three Vitamin A pills every other day. Fast-food restaurants are not on her itinerary.

“Pretty plain” is how she describes her diet. “I don’t like to exceed five grams of fat at a time,” Allee explained, noting some of her usual foods are turkey sandwiches, plain pasta and grilled — not fried, not breaded — chicken.

“I wasn’t growing [as a toddler with some digestive issues] … I’m lucky the doctors found it early enough,” Allee said. “We could treat it so I could be an everyday child.

“I’ve always liked sports; I grew up very competitive,” she continued. “[Thanks to the vitamins and dietary discipline] I’m able to control everything that happens because of my disease.”

Bouman was pitching coach at Iowa before coming to Indiana State and became aware of the shortstop from Cedar Rapids.

“I knew about [Allee], so when I got the job here she was one of the first people I contacted,” he said.

He wasn’t aware of abetalipoproteinemia.

“I found out about a month after she got to campus,” he recalled, “and I became aware it was something we wanted to play close attention to. She doesn’t want special attention, but something like this requires special attention.

“She’s done a great job of dealing with the situation,” the coach continued, “and it’s definitely not something that’s hindered her. She’s as tough an individual as I’ve been around.”

It’s possible, Allee concedes, that her condition has affected her from time to time. “Sometimes my balance is off,” she says, and problems with balance are one of its symptoms. Blaine Kinsey — who is in charge of softball for Indiana State’s sports information office — remembers a game in which Allee took an awkward swing and fell to the ground.

She homered on the next pitch.

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