Sports

Player of the year: Beamer standout Brian Corliss recovers from Tommy John surgery

Todd Beamer senior Brian Corliss hit .489 with 11 stolen bases, 23 hits, 21 runs scored and eight doubles as a shortstop and was 4-1 with a 2.73 earned-run average on the mound. Corliss recently had Tommy John surgery. - Casey Olson/The Mirror
Todd Beamer senior Brian Corliss hit .489 with 11 stolen bases, 23 hits, 21 runs scored and eight doubles as a shortstop and was 4-1 with a 2.73 earned-run average on the mound. Corliss recently had Tommy John surgery.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

Brian Corliss can do it all on a baseball field.

The Todd Beamer High School senior proved that again this season. Corliss finished second in the South Puget Sound League South Division with a robust .489 batting average while playing a stellar defensive shortstop. He also stole 11 bases in 11 attempts, finished second in the league with eight doubles, second in the league with 23 hits and scored 21 runs, while only striking out three times during the 16-game regular season.

But those stats are only the tip of the iceberg when discussing Corliss. He also finished 4-1 on the mound with a miniscule 2.73 earned-run average. During his seven starts for the Titans, he threw two complete games, striking out 40 hitters in 30 innings of work.

“He had a great season for us,” Beamer head coach Jerry Peterson said. “He did everything asked of him.”

The great season earned the Beamer right-hander the title of the Mirror’s 2009 All-City Baseball Team’s Player of the Year. Corliss led the Titans into the postseason for the fifth-straight season and earned All-SPSL South Division first-team honors for the third year in a row.

“I feel like I know the game very well,” Corliss said. “This year I saw the ball very well and went in with the mindset that no one could beat me.”

But Corliss won’t get to take his all-around game to the next level, at least next year. The senior underwent Tommy John surgery two weeks ago on his right arm. The surgery, known by doctors as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, is a procedure in which a ligament in the elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (in Corliss’ case it came from his wrist).

The surgery is named after Tommy John, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who was the first professional athlete to successfully undergo the operation in 1974.

“I’m doing pretty well right now,” Corliss said. “But it’s pretty crazy that I had to have the surgery. It was just a freak deal. My ligament popped off the bone. It’s just one of those things.”

The “freak deal” happened during a pivotal SPSL South game against Rogers on May 1. It was the Titans’ final game of the regular season. Corliss was on the mound early in the game and felt a pop in his right elbow after throwing a pitch.

“I just thought it was popping to release some pressure or something, but I tried to throw another pitch and it wasn’t happening,” Corliss said. “The doctor said it was just a freak accident. There wasn’t any wear and tear.”

A week later, Corliss was having Tommy John surgery performed by longtime Seattle Mariner team doctor Larry Pedagana.

“He is very happy with what he’s done,” Corliss said. “Now I just have to start my rehab.”

Full rehabilitation after Tommy John surgery takes about a year, meaning Corliss’ college baseball career will have to wait until the 2011 season. He will start rehabbing in Redmond in the next couple days three times a week and is keeping his college options open. Several coaches at community colleges in the area, including Edmonds and Everett, have expressed interest, as have Oregon and Oregon State.

“I’m just going to stay around home during the rehab and get the support of my family,” Corliss said. “I will redshirt next year and hopefully it will be off to a big school after that.”

Corliss will, most likely, end up playing somewhere in the infield when his baseball career gets going again in college.

“I like hitting better,” Corliss said. “During my high school career, I always did my best and I think I made an impact on the teams I was with.”

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