Before Spencer Price, a sophomore pitcher from Ocean Springs, took the mound in last Saturday’s game against Youngstown State University (0-3), it had been a year since he had last pitched in Dudy Noble for No.14 Mississippi State University (4-0).
“I have been dreaming of getting back on this field with my teammates and being able to contribute,” Price said. “I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to get back out here and I’m just ready to get it rolling.”
The reason Price missed the year was due to an injury to his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, which he had to have surgery on. This is most commonly known as the Tommy John surgery, for which recovery takes anywhere from eight months to upward of a year to fully recover. Price said he knew it was going to be a long road to recovery.
“It is a grind, I went in knowing it was going to be tough,” Price said. “I had an idea of (what it's like) going through. The work you put in, the hours you put in and to come back and try and be a form of your older self, that is what is tough.”
Price brings experience to the team, as he pitched 34 innings with a 2.91 earned run average in 2017. Head coach Chris Lemonis said it was great to see him take the mound against Youngstown State University where he pitched an inning.
“It was nice, it was emotional for him. It took a lot for him to get back out there,” Lemonis said. “Spencer (Price) really getting back out there for him, pitching on the bump against somebody else's hitters is a really big day for him. Hopefully moving forward, we can use him more and more. That slider is really good.”
While Price fought for a year to get back on the mound, he is also fighting for a cause close to his heart when he takes the mound. A golden ribbon is pinned on to the right side of his cap in practice or in games.
“It is for childhood cancer awareness,” Price said. “My little cousin, he has cancer again. We wore them two years ago and he had cancer back then, too. We just found out he has cancer again, and I wanted to bring it back out in support of him and just for the cause itself.”
Fans can wear a golden ribbon with Price to support the 15,780 children who are diagnosed with cancer per year according to the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer stat-sheet from 2018. Price said his whole family believes his cousin has the strength to beat cancer for the second time.
“He gets his treatment down in Houston; he has really good doctors that take care of him,” Price said. “I try to keep in touch and see him as much as I can, but with me being in school it is tough—for the family it is tough. He has fought it once, so we think he can go through it again, and we all got his back.”
For more information about childhood cancer, visit the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer website, and St. Jude or the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation websites are official donation resources.