EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — She loves to pitch and to swing the bat.

But East Peoria’s Meadow Terry says her approach to each is different.

“I love hitting, it’s definitely one of the most fun parts of the game,” Terry said. “It’s more high-intensity. Pitching is definitely a slower pace. Hitting says, ‘you’re coming to play.”

She’s just glad to hit, to pitch and to play this year. The junior pitcher missed last season recovering form surgery on her left knee and it was a long road back to softball.

“I was nervous,” Terry admitted. “Coming back I wasn’t sure how I’d perform after being down for eight months.”

She’s rejoined the team and become the top pitcher for the Raiders. She struck out nine hitters in a 6-1 win over Dunlap on Monday.

“She’s out there. Sher gives us a different dynamic,” said East Peoria softball coach Denee Menzione. “She’s a tall strong body. She’s intimidating (when pitching).”

While she was recovering from knee surgery last year, she missed out on a lot of softball, including the entire 2022 season. But while she was away form the sport she loves, Terry picked up another love.

The game of chess.

And this year, she joined the school chess team and was surprised when her softball teammates became big fans.

“The girls are supportive. They ask to play,” Terry said. “We play on our phones. It’s fun. A lot of the girls want me to teach them. I love how supportive they are. They never make fun of it.”

And chess helped her in her return to softball.

“I definitely would say it helps me think mentally. Before I just played and didn’t think about it,” Terry said. “But now I think about what I’m doing before I do it.”