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Baseball is an emotional roller coaster with an ability to change course in an instant. Unfortunately for Sean Smith of the independent Atlantic League's York Revolution, he experienced the roller coaster firsthand on Friday night, and the results were both painful and heart-warming.
Ninety feet after Smith connected on a game-tying home run in Game 3 of the Atlantic League playoffs, he crumpled to the ground in pain. While watching the baseball leave the yard and likely pondering what may have been the biggest hit of his professional career, Smith awkwardly stepped on first-base bag and went right down. In that one unlucky instant, the ACL in his right knee was torn.
From the highest highs and what was to be a joyride around the bases, to the lowest of all low feelings, immediately knowing of the long road to recovery he'll be facing.
Smith knew, too. After willing himself to his feet, he was unable to put any weight on his right leg. Still, he had another 270 to go, and he was going to finish it one way or another.
Halfway to second base, Smith motioned to one of the umpires that his knee was gone, but he was going to keep going. And keep going he did, gaining more momentum with each hop on his left leg.
By the time he neared third base, he'd hit his stride, and every fan in the stadium was behind him. As the roar built, Smith fired them up even more by pounding on his chest. Then, he made the turn for the home stretch and saw that waiting for him at home was every single one of his teammates.
It was both heart-breaking and beautiful to watch as Smith hopped those final 90 feet. Those emotions only heightened as Smith crossed home and was immediately embraced by his teammates, who then carried their injured hero off the field.
But that does not compare to one of my favorite softball videos (posted previously)
Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon is up to bat against Central Washington. The video picks up as Tucholsky hits her first ever - in her life - home run. Just past 1st base, she tears a ligament in her knee and is unable to run any further. The umpires state that if her teammates or coaches assist her she will be declared out and if a pinch runner is substitued for her, her homer will be declared a single. Hearing this, Central Washington's Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace offer to carry her around the bases. Thus ends Tucholsky's softball season and career.
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