MADISON, Miss. (WJTV) – Regi Grace’s junior season at Madison Central didn’t go as planned.
“It was extremely frustrating, especially coming off a state championship win. sophomore year,” he said.
Grace played a big role in that championship run; he threw a shutout in Game 1 of their series with George County.
However, before his junior season, Grace says he hurt his back from what he thinks was lifting weights.
“At first when i felt it just hurting, i was like, maybe like a sprain or so,” he said. “But then when they said ‘you’re gonna have to be in a brace’, it was like, huh?”
He had to be in a brace because he had bilateral fractures in his L4 and L5 vertebrae, which are near the bottom of the spine.
“I felt like a big door. People at school would just knock on you and things,” he said. “It was from my top of my chest to the end of my tailbone.”
Grace had to wear the brace for five months.
“So then when I was in the brace, I was like, man, what if this is it because it was hurting when i was sleeping and everything,” Grace said. “So what if i don’t play baseball again? but God got me through it, prayers every night. Just worked itself out.”
And Grace is pitching like nothing ever happened. The senior right-hander has a 1.86 ERA this season to go with 80 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched.
“He’s got a unique experience,” head coach Patrick Robey said. “That he can share with generations to come about perspective and understanding that the game can be taken away from you at any time.”
Robey is in his third year with the team. His first year was Grace’s sophomore season.
“A lot times a lot of guys try to do what they do and have success with it and they try to do a little more and that’s when you get yourself in trouble in this game,” he said. “But regi doesn’t resort to effort. He just resorts to focus and playing the game relaxed.”
And that’s how he’s approaching this coming summer. There’s a good possibility he’ll have to choose between going pro or going to Mississippi State.
“It’s kinda a win-win wherever you go,” he said. “One requires a bit more maturity than the other. That’s something me and my family discuss, maybe three times a week or more probably. It’s a life decision. I guess we’ll see what goes down.”