GRAPEVINE, Texas – What would you do if your hopes and dreams seemingly came crashing down before they ever began? Senior Daniel Brumbaugh experienced such disappointment in his freshman season with the baseball team. Brumbaugh fractured his back early on in the season and faced the possibility of never reaching his goal of playing collegiate baseball. He faced a hard road back, but this fall he signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Richmond next year, achieving his dream.
Brumbaugh went into his freshman baseball season with a good a chance to make the varsity team. “That’s every kids’ dream,” Brumbaugh said, “so I was really excited going into it.” His back had bothered him throughout basketball season and into the start of baseball season before finally giving out in a game at Liberty. “I got an inside fastball that I was about to smash, and as I swung, my back gave out,” Brumbaugh said.
Brumbaugh did not expect to be out for more than a few months, “but then [he] went to the doctor and found out [he] was completely wrong about that.” Brumbaugh had a stress fracture in his back and would need to sit out for at least six to eight months. He would not only have to sit out of baseball, but he would be unable to do any physical activity at all. There was a chance he would never play baseball again. “It hit me pretty hard because I had plans of playing Division I baseball and even playing professionally, so it kind of changed all of my plans,” he said.
He returned his sophomore year feeling ready to play again. “Those months were hard for me because I’ve never gone that long without baseball,” Brumbaugh said. “It healed, and I went back to playing sophomore year and broke it again.” He would be forced to take another extended absence from baseball.
“If we’re being completely honest,,” Brumbaugh said. “most of the rehab was just getting back to what I was prior to my injury, which took a lot of effort and work.” He went to the batting cages every day to work on refining his mechanics and getting used to the swinging motion again. He also started doing yoga. “Yoga is extremely difficult. I did that to get back in shape and get stronger,” he said.
Brumbaugh returned for his junior year, and was less than stunning. “None of that [practice] is good enough to replicate live pitching,” he said. “It took half of the season for me to get used to live pitching again.” Things turned around for him with his summer club team. He hit in the .400s and led his club in RBIs, on-base percentage, and runs scored. He sent his summer numbers to the schools he was interested in along with a schedule of his games.
This fall, Brumbaugh signed to play outfield and be a relief pitcher at the University of Richmond in Virginia. “It was pretty awesome to sign in general, but coming from where I was, doubting I’d ever play again, made it pretty sweet.” Brumbaugh’s senior season was much better statistically. He led the team both at the plate in home runs and on the mound in strikeouts. “This last high school season was great for all the memories I got from it. I’ll never forget this team and everything we have accomplished.”
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