Sports

Bocchi shouldered the load for Beamer

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Ups and downs are just a part of baseball.

A hitter is considered great even after failing seven out of 10 times at the plate. And a pitcher is only as good as his last outing. Those things are just a part of the game.

But Carsten Bocchi’s last few months have really been a tidal wave of emotions on and off the baseball diamond.

“It’s been pretty interesting,” said Bocchi.

The Todd Beamer pitcher/outfielder experienced the high of leading the second-year Titans to an improbable South Puget Sound League championship with his solid all-around play on the mound and at the plate.

Bocchi finished 5-2 as a pitcher with a 2.12 earned-run average and had 52 strikeouts in 43 innings of work. He also led the Titans with a .423 average with two home runs and 11 RBIs. Numbers that earned the left-hander the Mirror’s All-City Baseball Team’s Player of the Year honor, as well as the SPSL South’s co-Most Valuable Player with Puyallup first baseman Jason Carr.

But all those on-field accomplishments were put on the back burner May 16 when doctors discovered a blood clot in Bocchi’s pitching arm. The clot immediately ended Bocchi’s season smack dab in the middle of Beamer’s postseason run. And doctors couldn’t say whether he would ever play baseball again.

Not a real easy thing for a high school junior to deal with.

“I was pitching with (the clot) for three months,” he said. “My arm would sometimes hurt after I pitched, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Doctors told me that if (the clot) would have chipped off, it could have gotten in my arteries and heart and it could have killed me. It was pretty scary.”

Bocchi first became aware something was wrong with his left arm just two days after pitching the Titans to a 6-4 victory over Kentlake in the SPSL title game at Kent Memorial Park May 14.

“We were at practice and my arm started to swell up and get huge,” Bocchi said. “I showed it to (head coach Jerry) Peterson and he told me to go to the hospital.”

When Bocchi arrived, doctors took one look at his left shoulder and immediately put him on an ambulance and rushed him to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, which is the Puget Sound’s only trauma center. Bocchi spent two days in Seattle, hooked to an IV, receiving blood thinners for the clot that developed near his left clavicle.

Bocchi was released from Harborview after the blood thinners broke up the clot that was stopping the flow of blood to Bocchi’s left arm. He is currently giving himself a daily injection of blood thinners in his thigh and hopes to be back on the baseball field in a couple months with no negative effects, he said. Bocchi is still attending practices and games for his summer league team, the Seattle Stars Baseball Club.

“I can still throw right now,” Bocchi said. “But they won’t let me play in games because I am on the blood thinners. If I did anything I would bleed for a long time. I should be 100 percent in two months and may be able to play toward the end of the (summer).”

Doctors have told Bocchi that the blood clot most likely came from shoulder muscles growing more quickly than his body could accommodate, he said.

Bocchi’s absence in the postseason was a killer for the Beamer baseball team.

“Carsten just carried us this year and not having him was just tough,” Peterson said.

“I wanted to be out there so bad,” Bocchi said about the playoffs.

But there’s always next year. The Titans return every player except third baseman Brandon Wallach from a team that rolled through the SPSL South regular season with a 12-6 record to tie Curtis atop the 10-team league. Beamer went on to beat North champion Kentlake in the SPSL title game before dropping a loser-out, winner-to-state game at districts — also to Kentlake.

“The kids did a great job doing whatever we asked them to do,” said Peterson. “These kids really competed. Things didn’t rattle them.”

“Our team just had really good team chemistry and I had a feeling we would do well,” Bocchi said. “We worked so hard in the offseason together.”

The work started in last fall when several of the Titan baseball players would meet at the school and take batting practice and throw bullpen sessions. When it was raining, they would head to an indoor facility.

“It seemed like it paid off,” Bocchi said.

There’s no arguing that.

The Titans should be the early favorites to repeat as SPSL champs and possibly contend for the school’s first state championship next year.

“Our hopes are high,” Bocchi said.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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