Troy welcomes back Spitulski to Riddle-Pace Field

Published 9:43 pm Friday, March 16, 2018

Troy’s game on Saturday will be an important one for the Trojans. Not because they are hosting Little Rock in the first Sun Belt Conference series of the year, but because they are welcoming back one of their own in freshman infielder Bobby Spitulski.

Spitulski, along with his family, was involved in a car accident during Christmas break.

Spitulski sustained many injuries in the accident including head trauma. A month later, Spitulski walked out of the hospital under his own power. After numerous surgeries, Spitulski has since participated in hitting soft toss pitches into a net. On Saturday, he will take another step forward when he throws out the first pitch before the Trojans take on Little Rock.

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“It’s a great day for everybody in our program, particularly our players,” said head baseball coach Mark Smartt. “This will be the first time that we all get to see Bobby after what he has gone through.”

The Trojan baseball team will wear green – the color for head trauma – “SpitStrong” T-shirts during batting practice. The first 200 fans will receive a free green SpitStrong T-shirt and everyone is encouraged to wear green.

“This young man has really shown tremendous courage and determination through this difficult period,” Smartt said. “The SpitStrong hash tag that has been associated with him I think speaks volumes for who he is.”

This will be the first time that the players will see Spitulski since the accident.

After getting word of the accident, the team got together a week later in the first official meeting heading into the preseason. During a time when the logistics of the season usually overtake the meeting, this time around it was something else that dominated the conversation.

“The first meeting was not about baseball,” Smartt said. “It was about how we are going to deal with this situation both individually and collectively. I was really proud of how our guys rallied support for Bobby and his family.”

Inspired is not a word that Smartt uses when describing how his team reacted to Bobby’s recovery. Instead he sees it as a team commitment.

“They made a commitment to each other that they were going to do whatever they had to do to have the same amount of courage, determination and spirit that Bobby showed immediately,” Smartt said.

According to Smartt, it is still not known if Spitulski will return to the field in the near or distant future, but he is certain that if there is a chance Spitulski will make it happen.

“He has a long road ahead,” Smartt said. “He has made tremendous strides in two and a half months. There are many miles to go and we will be there every step of the way. If it can be done, Bobby Spitulski will do it. That is what he has shown me. His spirit is remarkable. His strength is very evident and if it’s possible, he will accomplish it. I truly believe that.”

Game time between Troy and Little Rock is scheduled for 3 p.m.