After two ACL injuries, Shannon returns in OG's win over Petal

By CAMAL PETRO,

PETAL – Oak Grove’s Kade Shannon was dealt a tough hand. The senior suffered two separate ACL injuries in the last 13 months, and he hasn’t played a pitch of varsity baseball for the Warriors since the 2017 south state championship series against Gulfport.

On Thursday, in Oak Grove’s 9-4 win over rival Petal, Shannon finally got an at-bat, and he made the most of it.

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“It was fun,” Shannon said. “I’m just glad to finally get back in spikes and just run around and have fun again. I wish I would have hit it harder, but it still felt good to get in the box and be with the boys again.”

With the Warriors leading 5-0 in the fifth inning, Shannon was called onto pinch hit with the bases loaded. He fouled the first pitch he saw off the handle of the bat, causing him to lose a little feeling in his hands, if he wasn’t already at a disadvantage. He took the next pitch for a ball before sending a shot to the third baseman who got a glove on it.

Shannon raced down the line and made it safely for a hit and an RBI to give Oak Grove a 6-0 lead.

“I just had to run as fast as I could go,” he said. “Right now, it’s not that fast, but I gave it all I had. It was fun, for sure.”

From the third base coach’s box, Oak Grove coach Chris McCardle had a good view of Shannon’s at-bat.

“I knew he was going to put the bat on it because of the way he’s hitting in practice and the way he’s hitting it in junior varsity games,” McCardle said. “I’m proud of him for hanging in there and persevering through all the injuries, and all the mental stuff it takes to bounce back and keep working.”

After a promising freshman season, Shannon shined his sophomore campaign. He hit .329 from the plate in 85 at-bats with 21 RBI, 16 hits and a pair of home runs. The future was looking bright until his early February ACL injury occurred while playing dodgeball just days before his junior season was set to start in 2018.

He missed the entire baseball season and he was limited to start the football season the following fall. He started to see time on special teams for the Warriors, then against Brandon in the regular season, he suffered an ACL injury to his other knee.

“The second one was tough because I did it and I worked so hard, then I had to do it again,” Shannon said. “It was kind of a letdown. I worked hard enough to come back pretty early, so I’m happy to be here. I’m excited.”

The early prognosis was just a slight chance to come back for his senior baseball season. The Warriors needed to have a long playoff run if Shannon wanted to contribute. While he’s still not fully back, he beat those odds.

“I like to prove people wrong and that was kind of my goal,” Shannon said. “I wanted to play as early as I can, and I’m back earlier than I even thought, so I’m going to pat myself on the back for that one.”

An interesting twist to his injuries is the timing of his two surgeries. His first came on Valentine’s Day in 2018, then his second one came on Halloween eight months later.

It’s only been four months since his last surgery, and he’s already making an impact for the Warriors. McCardle expects him to do more as the season progresses.

“He’ll help and he’ll contribute a good bit for our team, especially offensively,” McCardle said.