Christian’s Sports Beat: Starting the journey...
I know injuries are part of sports, but I also know battling back from a severe injury and participating in the sport you love, can be rewarding.
That is exactly what is happening for former Hurricane High School pitcher Aaron Perry, who was drafted in the 14th round by the Boston Red Sox in June, after suffering a stress fracture to his pitching elbow in April.
Perry, who was rated by Baseball America as the top-ranked prospect in West Virginia, turned down a baseball scholarship to the University of Kentucky to sign with Boston.
Speaking from the Red Sox’s Fort Myers, Florida, complex, Perry shared his thoughts with me when he received the call he had been drafted.
“(It was) very exciting. I just felt very blessed to be drafted and receive the offer I did from the Red Sox. I was just happy because I have always dreamed to get a chance to play in the big leagues and this was the first step to fulfill that dream. It’s one of those experiences where you really don’t know what to say or do, because of being so excited,” Perry said.
Up until he was injured while the Redskins were playing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the 18-year-old was batting a hefty .628, clouting two home runs and driving in 22, while going 3-1 with an impressive 0.33 ERA.
First things first, though, was getting his right arm back into playing shape. When I last saw Perry, he was still wearing a brace on his arm, but that is off now and his rehab has picked up.
“It continues to go as good as it could here in Fort Myers,” he said. “I go to Jet Blue Stadium every day and work on getting everything back to normal. I am scheduled to start throwing the baseball this month. They just want me to be 100 percent.” Perry is currently working with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. This is where Boston’s first-year players start their careers.
The dream of every Little Leaguer to high school baseball player is to sometime get a chance to play in the Major Leagues.
By getting drafted, Perry has taken that first step, and helping him get there was Hurricane High School Baseball Coach Brian Sutphin, whom the young right-hander continues to talk to.
“We have talked and text a lot since I have been down here (Fort Myers). Coach is like a second dad to me, and I appreciate the advice and guidance he has always given me.”
From the other side of the dugout, Coach Sutphin has a feeling Perry is going to do just fine, saying, “Aaron is a great young man who has a high energy and enthusiasm for the game of baseball. He is a perfect example that when talent and hard work meet up, then great things can happen. We are excited to follow Aaron’s journey through professional baseball and will be with him all the way.”
Despite missing a large portion of season, Perry was still named Player of the Year in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
As I previously mentioned, Perry turned down a chance to play for Kentucky, opting for his shot with the Red Sox. He told me, the decision was not easy. “It has always been a dream of mine to start my journey to play professional baseball, and being drafted was just another step to accomplishing that dream. I was looking forward to going to Kentucky and playing for the Wildcats, but my childhood dream won out this time around.”
As Perry begins his journey through the Minor Leagues, here’s hoping I get to see him play at Appalachian Power Park for Boston’s South Atlantic League team, the Greenville Drive, against the West Virginia Power and pardon me if I cheer for a rival player of Charleston’s home team.
Good luck, Aaron!
Christian Deiss, 13, of Scott Depot is a student at Hurricane Middle School.