Phil Anastasia: Shawnee's Boswick on quick mend
The pitcher is back sooner than expected after injuring his ankle.
Kevin Boswick could have stayed home that day.
He could have watched some television, surfed the Internet, put his feet up. He could have relaxed before the start of his senior baseball season at Shawnee.
Instead, Boswick volunteered to play in a charity volleyball game. He figured it was a good cause. He figured it would be a good time, too.
He didn't know it was one good deed that wasn't going to go unpunished.
"I thought I broke it," Boswick said of his left ankle, which twisted beneath him when he landed on the floor of the gymnasium two days before the start of baseball practice. "I'm on my way to the ER and I'm thinking, 'Oh, no. I let my team down.' "
This story has a happy ending. Or a happy middle, anyway.
Boswick has made a near-miraculous recovery since the early diagnosis was that he would miss the entire season and the more optimistic update was that he might be back by May. In fact, he missed just one start.
A righthanded pitcher, he already is 2-0 with nine strikeouts in nine innings. He has rejuvenated Shawnee's season, and he's set to take the mound Monday when the Renegades face Cherry Hill West in a game that will go a long way in determining the Olympic Conference Patriot Division title.
"His recovery was far ahead of schedule," Shawnee coach Brian Anderson said. "His presence on the mound helps stabilize our team."
Anderson thought Boswick might miss the whole season. Boswick thought the same thing - or his doctors did, anyway.
"That's what they were telling me at first," Boswick said of the diagnosis of the injury, in which some tendons pulled away from the bone. "It was heartbreaking. It was horrible. It was such a freak accident."
When Boswick left the ground to try to spike the volleyball, he was one of the best pitchers in South Jersey. He went 5-1 as a sophomore. He went 5-0 as a junior, with a 3.17 ERA, 38 strikeouts, and just 10 walks.
When he landed, he didn't know if he would throw another pitch in a Shawnee uniform.
"You wait your whole career for your senior year," said Boswick, who has committed to attend Lehigh University on a baseball scholarship. "They [doctors] were saying I might not be able to make it back."
He defied that pessimistic outlook with aggressive rehabilitation and dogged determination. This was a star baseball player who found himself in therapy in March rather than on the field. He was desperate not to let his senior season slip away.
Boswick says he received a big boost from the folks at 3 Dimensional Physical Therapy in Vincentown. His own high pain threshold helped, too.
"They said I was a very fast healer," Boswick said.
He was back on the mound April 12 against Triton. He got the win with four innings of work and earned another victory with five strong innings Monday against Pennsauken.
Boswick's return has made a world of difference for a Shawnee team with some accomplished hitters but a shortage of experience on the mound. The Renegades were 1-2 without their ace. They are 5-0 since Boswick's return and are knocking on the door of the Top 10 rankings.
"Kevin makes those around him better, and with our new faces around the field, we need his maturity," Anderson said.
Boswick thinks the injury might have been a bit of a blessing in disguise. It forced the Renegades to develop more pitching depth, which will be more important than ever in the new-bat era.
It also gave him a chance to appreciate fully his senior season. He hopes to have a better fastball and curve. He already has a better perspective.
"I know how lucky I am," Boswick said.