Wounded Warrior: Proctor battling through injuries to lead Red Devils

Brayden Proctor pitches for the Red Devils in a game last season 

 

For the past several years, Brayden Proctor has been a mainstay for the Lawrence County baseball team. 

He has been a strong bat in the batting order and a top player on the mound and in the outfield. 

But there's one thing that makes him a little different than the average baseball player. He doesn't know what it's like to play healthy. 

Since the beginning of his baseball career, Proctor has been battling one injury after another to the point where he's literally played through an injury every season. 

"Ninth grade year I had wrist surgery after tearing ligaments in my wrist. Going into my tenth grade year I dislocated my shoulder in football and tore my labrum," Proctor said. "Then in baseball I dislocated it again and last year I had another wrist surgery so that was about four surgeries." 

As if that wasn't enough, the senior is battling through yet another injury this season. 

"I tore my UCL so after this season I will have to have Tommy John surgery," Proctor said as he shrugged and smiled. 

However, despite receiving all these injuries, it hasn't kept him off the field. Quite the opposite in  fact. 

While Lebron missed games this season due to "load management", Proctor has been suiting up every game, batting third in the lineup and anchoring down the centerfield position. 

"It sucks, but it's something I have to deal with," he said. "It's a lot of pain, but I'm not going to miss the season. This is my last year." 

Proctor stated that it hurts when he throws the ball, which I guess could be a problem when you play a sport such as baseball. The injury has kept him from being on the mound this year after being one of the top pitchers in the rotation last year.

But his injury hasn't kept him from making an impact at the plate and in centerfield, where he took over for Braxton Terry.  He has learned to play through pain. 

"It's just natural for me at this point," Proctor said. "Four or five years of dealing with it, you get used to it." 

The senior, one of just a few, has been a huge part in helping the young Red Devils grow. 

"At the start of the season bats are not going as good because you're not getting a lot of live pitching. But I feel we've progressed and are at a good point." 

Proctor is trying to help prevent a repeat of last season, in which the Devils finished with a strong record, but missed out on the playoffs. 

They're already part of the way there. By defeating West Point two weeks ago, the Devils need to win just one of their two remaining area series. 

To them, beating West Point was a great way to get that area monkey off their back. 

"It was very good. That puts us in great position," Proctor said. "If you drop that first area series then the pressure is on to make up for it." 

Lawrence County must win one of their two remaining area series to advance. 

Their first series will be this week. The Russellville Golden Tigers. 

The Golden Tigers have been the standard for 5A baseball since the expansion into seven classifications. They have been in every 5A finals since, winning three of them. If there was anything that could resemble a metaphorical mountain for Lawrence County, it would be Russellville. 

"Russellville is a team I've wanted to beat for five years," Proctor said. "We've never done it, not since I've been here. We've came close. Last year we lost the series, both games, by one run in the bottom of the seventh." 

Still, while Proctor and the Devils are excited for the opportunity, what's really at stake isn't at the back of their minds. 

"I'm excited, they're good competition, but we can't lose track of what's important," he said. "We have to stay focused and realize that this is to get in the playoffs." 

When pressed for a prediction, Proctor just smiled and shook his head. 

"I'm not trying to jinx myself," he laughed. 

 

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