2018Feb 6

The Comeback

Matt Fiorini – #32

University of St. Francis – Fort Wayne / Pitcher

 

The Comeback

By: Domenic Fiorini

 

“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there”

– Bo Jackson

After the eighth grade, I realized that baseball was my sport, and I wanted to take things more seriously. I thought about working out more and kicking practices up a notch; other than that, I really didn’t know what to do, but I knew wanted to get better.

Coming into St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS in 2011, I couldn’t throw hard, I wasn’t very big and in the tenth grade my coach said, “You’ll be swinging your way into a pitcher in no time”.

As you could probably guess, this is when I realized that I should just stick to pitching.

However, by this time I was roughly 140lbs, throwing about 65mph and still figuring out my body and my delivery.

It was time to kick things up a notch.

By the twelfth grade I had hit my growth spurt and was standing at 6’1”, weighed about 180lbs and was throwing roughly 85mph. Things were finally coming together for me. I was confident, I was locating my pitches and I was throwing the ball hard and like never before.

In the fall of 2015, I joined Lake Erie Storm playing division two baseball in Painesville, Ohio.

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However, while I was there, things weren’t always sunshine and rainbows.

Growing up I had always been a starting pitcher. That was my thing; to give my team a chance to win.

During this time however, I had been moved to the bullpen. This was a difficult adjustment for me. Instead of trying to give my team a chance to win, I’m trying to lead them to victory and as a freshman, let’s just say the nerves were high.

Also while attending Lake Erie, I had never had the opportunity to use a radar gun to see how fast I had been throwing.

By the end of the season, I realized that playing in Lake Erie wasn’t for me. Although I made the second most appearances on the mound for my team in my first year, really ramped up my intensity in games and built some strong relationships with my teammates, I felt that it was time to move on.

After playing my last game with Lake Erie, tensions were high, emotions got the best of me and I threw one of the worst games of the season, I just couldn’t wait to go home.


When I came home, I thought to myself that I was done playing high level baseball. My plan was to attend Laurier University, get an education and pitch, but after that, I was done.

That summer, I got in contact with one of my former coaches and I told him my intentions with baseball. Before doing anything rash, he told me to come by the facility and jump on the radar gun, something I hadn’t done in about a year.

I hit 90mph for the first time…Boom.

That same summer I played for a local baseball team called the Toronto Maple Leafs where I struck out a bunch of batters and threw minimal walks.

I was at the top of my game and was recruited to pitch at the NAIA level in Fort Wayne, Indiana by the University of St. Francis.

Needless to say, I wasn’t attending Laurier the next school year.

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As the school year approached and my summer with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team was coming to an end, there were only a few games left in the season. Warming up one game, I felt a little tweak in my shoulder, I didn’t think anything of it and thought that it would just go away.

After popping a few ibuprofens into my system, I thought I was back to my old self.

Well, I was wrong.

That night I felt unbearable pain in my shoulder. Shortly after, on January 11th, 2017, I saw a doctor and was told that I needed a posterior capsule release in my left shoulder and that the recovery would take about a year.

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Great, just what I needed to tell my coaches at St. Francis. Luckily for me, they were understanding of the situation.

In that moment, after the surgery I thought to myself, now what?

I love baseball and after a summer of pitching so well, I knew I had the potential to be great.

So I sat back and realized that I should document this thing; my “comeback” story. I wanted to show that baseball players who suffer injuries similar to mine should not let it set them back from their goals at becoming great at the game and doing what they love.


Fast forward to July 2017, I got the go ahead from the doctors to pitch again.

I was filled with excitement, happiness and relief. The fact that I was able to throw the ball again so quickly from the time of the surgery meant the world to me.

I was back to throwing 100% shortly after the doctor’s okay. Although the pain still lingered every once in a while, this was normal and not overworking myself was the key to coming back.

Now I monitor myself a lot more with respect to how I’m feeling, what I am eating, my sleep schedule and I am working out constantly, but cautiously. If I stick to my routine and not overwork myself, I know that I am destined for great things.

My goals for the upcoming season are to be the best pitcher in the conference and to beat St. Franics’ current record of 9 wins in 12 appearances during the 45 game season.

Follow @fiorinipitching to join me through my journey to the “Comeback”

Season starts February 10th.

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“Watch me come back from this, or don’t.”

– Matt Fiorini

 

Contributor / Matt Fiorini

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