Shippensburg University’s ace Kyle Lysy was on pace for a dominating senior year on the mound, only eight months after tearing his labrum, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought his comeback season to a screeching halt.
Lysy was on track for his best season yet. Through 29.1 innings pitched, Lysy boasted an impressive 2.76 ERA, two wins, and 28 strikeouts. He also added one complete game to his season stat line.
Lysy and the Raiders only got to compete in 18 of their 48 scheduled games before the NCAA canceled the rest of the season due to the ongoing pandemic.
“When I found out the remainder of the NCAA season was canceled due to the virus, I was extremely upset, confused, and shocked,” Lysy said. “But knowing that collegiate sport seasons, businesses, and schools were being shut down, I knew it was way bigger than baseball.”
Despite having his comeback season end so suddenly, Lysy is doing everything he can to stay positive and ready for whenever baseball returns.
“It is so important to always stay positive, and come together as one to work through this,” Lysy added. “Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon enough.”
According to Lysy, he is using this time to focus on getting stronger, especially after the serious injury he endured.
It was after his junior season, in May of 2019, that the shoulder injury arose.
Lysy had signed a contract with the North Adams Steeplecats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League for the summer. The league runs from early June into the beginning of August.
Lysy and SU teammate Noah Inch traveled to North Adams, Massachusetts, to throw before their scheduled meetings with the team. It was there that Lysy noticed something was wrong with his shoulder.
“We started to throw, and I felt that my shoulder was not right,” Lysy said. “I continued to try and throw through, thinking it was just tight but as Noah moved back further it got worse and worse to the point that it felt like a knife was jabbed into my shoulder.”
Lysy had an MRI done on his shoulder within two weeks of noticing the injury. From there, Lysy traveled to Boston Massachusetts General Hospital where Dr. Thomas Holovacs broke the news, telling him that he had been diagnosed with a slap tear, a tear of the labrum.
“I was feeling down at the time and highly disappointed because I knew how rare and complicated shoulder injuries can be,” the Shippensburg pitcher said. “The doctor recommended that I avoid surgery and follow with intense physical therapy for 6-8 months before throwing a ball again.”
Lysy did exactly that. He started his physical therapy in June, and was on a plan of going three times a week. He completed most of his rehab process with Shippensburg Physical Therapy.
“I was very scared going in because I knew how rare this injury was, and I did not want to hurt it even more. It is crazy, I thought I was so strong from lifting, but physical therapy was a whole new level of strengthening little muscles around my shoulder that I never even knew about,” Lysy said. “It was really hard at first to build a foundation of the muscles around my shoulder but once I was able to get in a groove and routine, I loved going.”
Over the next six months, Lysy continued this same process. It was not until Shippensburg’s winter break that he was able to elevate his workouts.
“I was not able to throw at all in the fall. My winter break was when I began ramping it up off the mound to be prepared for spring practice which started Jan. 10,” the SU starter added.
“I threw five bullpens over break, and each time out, I improved more and more.”
By the time the season began, Lysy was back to full health and pitching with a lot of confidence. He was only able to make five starts before the season was cut short.
However, the NCAA granted all spring sport athletes another year of eligibility. With Lysy being a senior, this left him with a tough decision. He could attempt to pursue a professional career or come back for a fifth season with the Raiders.
“After talking with my coaches and parents, my goal is to make baseball a career, so I will be coming back to play alongside my teammates for a fifth year,” Lysy said. “I was feeling really good about this season and was doing everything well. This year was cut short, so I have unfinished business to take care of.”
With the return of baseball in question for the rest of the year, Lysy may not see the field again for a while. However, come next spring, look for the right-handed flamethrower to be wearing red and blue and continuing to build off his strong 2020 campaign.