Despite being limited to 58 innings this spring because of her diabetes, Kiley Rose was 9-2 with a 2.64 ERA as a sophomore.
Just a few weeks before the first softball practice of the spring, Torrey Pines High pitcher Kiley Rose was poised to have an even better sophomore season.
But the second-team All-Palomar League selection as a freshman in 2015 was feeling tired all the time, couldn’t seem to drink enough water and was going to the bathroom an awful lot.
“My parents just thought I was dehydrated and that it would go away,” Rose said.
After a fast start for the Falcons, Rose began to wilt. The 5-foot-7 left-hander couldn’t even stand and cheer for her team from the dugout while the Falcons were on offense.
On a recruiting trip to Middle Tennessee, her father, Mike Rose, could not get his daughter enough water. She polished off a case of bottled water in just a few hours.
After the trip home, Rose’s pediatrician discovered her blood-sugar level, which should be between 80-150, was above 600.
“It’s a nightmare to hear the words, ‘Your child has to go to the hospital right now,’” Mike said.
The diagnosis came back as Type 1 diabetes, resulting from a virus she had contracted last winter.
There is no cure, just a lifetime of checking blood-sugar levels before meals and during activity — like pitching in a softball game — and endless insulin shots.
“I started crying,” Kiley said. “That was such a crazy thing to catch. My teammates and I had joked a few times when I was showing signs early in the season that maybe I had diabetes. We’d laugh.”
No one is laughing now.
As a freshman, Rose posted a 9-5 record with a 2.75 ERA in 79 innings, almost twice as many innings as any of her teammates.
Her sophomore season began with much promise but ended with a thud despite a 9-2 record and a 2.64 ERA. She pitched just 58 innings while freshman Haley White tossed nearly 103 innings with a 1.50 ERA.
“I dominated teams freshman year,” said Rose, who lost 20 pounds in a three-week period. “I was mad because I was working just as hard but with no results. I got benched.
“Once I started taking the insulin, I felt like myself for the first time in months. I was Kiley again.”
In Rose’s new life, she’s a walking concession stand. Her small cooler holds water, lollipops and candy bars for moments when her blood-sugar level drops.
She keeps her insulin and needles in there as well.
“One time I gave myself an injection in the dugout and a teammate got kind of woozy,” Rose joked. “I’ve done it a few times at friends’ houses or parties, whipped out my needles and given myself a shot because my levels were really low.
“I used to be afraid of needles, but this is life and death. I’ve gotten over it.
“This is what I have to do to have a normal life again.”
Rose’s Falcons teammates, coaches and staff received a crash course in diabetes, knowing the signs when a patient’s blood-sugar level hits the danger zone.
“We just learned about diabetes in biology class and I knew all the answers on the final,” Rose said. “Some of the answers in the book were wrong, though.”
During the final week of the regular season at Torrey Pines, one pitcher came down with mononucleosis, Rose was diagnosed with diabetes and a third pitcher on the team suffered an allergic reaction to shellfish during a team dinner.
That forced one of the players to sprint to a nearby drugstore, pick up a bottle of Benadryl and rush past the cashier while throwing money on the counter to get the medicine back to her teammate.
“It was an eye-opening week for the girls,” Torrey Pines softball coach Jon Moore said.
That goes double for Kiley Rose and her family.