Who has the best lights in town? Vote now for your favorite in our holiday lights contest.
A group of advisors, led by his father, helped guide the Titans' ace through his rehabilitation of a sore arm.
The Roanoke Times
Hidden Valley pitcher Ryan Lauria benefitted from a lot of advice when his arm was injured.
STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times
Ryan Lauria (No. 6) jumps ropes during a recent baseball practice at Hidden Valley. The senior pitcher, who is returning from a sore arm, has signed to play baseball at Louisville next season.
The Roanoke Times | File April
Hidden Valley pitcher Ryan Lauria went 7-2 with a 1.37 earned run average.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Hidden Valley baseball player Ryan Lauria has the most widely discussed formerly sore right arm in the River Ridge District.
Note the term “formerly” in reference to the condition of the Titans pitching ace’s throwing arm. The arm is fine now.
“I’m feeling good and confident for the rest of the season,” the senior said during a break in team workouts last week.
For that, he and the Titans baseball community can thank luck and an abundance of expert advice on the care and rehabilitation of a wounded wing.
The good fortune came when it was determined last year the elbow would not require surgery, as was mentioned as a firm possibility early on. As for the expert advice, it helped that he was a Division I college recruit and that his family had connections.
“My father is a chiropractor,” Lauria said. “He knows all the physical therarpists in town and all the great doctors. So he definitely guided that well.”
Chris Lauria had the dominant voice in the process, but there’s no question a number of interested parties monitored events closely. Hidden Valley coach Jason Taylor and his pitching coach Randy Boone were on a list thatincluded coaches at Louisville, Lauria’s future college destination. Representatives of the Richmond Braves, the elite travel program Lauria pitches for in the summer and fall, were also concerned.
That’s a lot of voices pointed at one pair of ears, but all indications are smart decisions were made. The biggies: Not rushing him back into action and prescribing a reasonable pitch count when he was judged sound enough to take the mound in live competition.
“Between two outings at the end of the summer, before our month off before the fall season, then during the fall, I threw about 30 innings,” he said.
That works out to roughly four high school starts spaced over four months.
“He worked hard in the offseason and he’s pitched well,” Taylor said a day after Lauria was chased following a short outing in a 12-10 loss to Northside on April 10.
Lauria struggled with his control. A couple of passed balls didn’t help matters, nor did the Vikings’ unusual plate discipline.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think that represented what he can do, what he has done,” Taylor said.
Lauria’s last 2012 start was Game 14 at Cave Spring. He continued to experience tenderness in his elbow, and shortly thereafter was shut down for the season. He didn’t pitch again until he took a turn for the Braves two months after the high school season ended.
“The first three months, it was obviously pretty uncomfortable,” he said. “But from the physical therapy and rest and just getting stronger, when I came back it felt good.”
Lauria reported for duty at Hidden Valley in the spring ready to go.
“By the end of season, he’s going to be much stronger than he is now,” Boone said. “All the time he took off trying to work his way back in shape and ready to go, I think physically he’s in much better shape than he’s ever been in before. He’s going to do well and help lead our team.”
Lauria is also fortunate to play for Hidden Valley, which has the pitching depth to have already used 14 pitchers through the first nine games. Pitchers of Lauria’s caliber are often called on to be staff aces and are recklessly overpitched.
“Some guys are pitching 70, 80 innings a year,” Boone said. “Some of our guys are pitching maybe 40.”
That’s one more issue Lauria won’t have to concern himself with.
“We have so much talent and depth on this team, I don’t have to do it all,” he said. “I have guys behind me who are going to come in and get it done and on my off days, we have starters who are going to go out and get it done, too.”
One lingering challenge is coming to grips with something Lauria has been trying to avoid his entire high school career — a bat. He’s done a good job of missing enemy bats as well as resisting efforts to persuade him to pick one up. As far as taking a regular turn in the batting order, he has opted out to date in order to concentrate on his pitching.
This year, for the first time, he’s taking some regular practice cuts.
“We’d love to talk him into hitting some,” Taylor said.
Lauria’s anti-stick stance has softened.
“It’s my senior year, so we’ll just have to see,” he said. “If the team needs me to, I may have to start swinging the bat some.”
While he’s thinking about it, he can continue to enjoy the spring of his senior year in high school and look forward to next year. As with everybody else in the Louisville community, he’s fired up about the Cardinals’ recent basketball championship.
“Between the Sugar Bowl win and the national championship win, it couldn’t be a more exciting time going to the University of Louisville,” he said.
Having a sound right arm to take with him makes it all the better.
Weather JournalMix on Sat AM; coming blog changes