KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Marshall high school alum Drew Devine had a career year for Western Michigan batting .359 with 15 doubles in 2019.
However, entering his senior season last spring the plan was for him to move from shortstop, where he was second-team all-MAC, to pitcher.
"We just felt that another look on the mound with the fast arm, exploding breaking ball and good velocity, it would open a door for him to realize a childhood dream, WMU head coach Billy Gernon said"
Devine was excited to get back on the mound as a pitcher until a preseason scrimmage ended his senior season before it even got started.
"I threw a pitch, felt a pop," Devine recalled." I tried to stay optimistic with it, you never really know until you get the picture of it but ended up being torn."
Devine had to have Tommy John surgery which can take as long as 15 months to recover from.
"It was definitely devastating for me," Devine said. "I was ready to play and start the season but I knew it was next man up and there was going to be someone at shortstop so I just took on that role of helping as many kids as I could."
After just 15 games the baseball season ended due to COVID-19 and Devine was granted his redshirt season anyway.
"Anyone who has had Tommy John knows its a very long, slow process, very deliberate with what you have to do," Devine said.
And all of Devine's hard work of rehabbing to get himself back on the field paid off in only his second at bat of the season, he hit a three-run home run at Kansas State off of a potential first round major league draft pick.
"I happened to get a good pitch to hit," Devins said about the home run swing. "I put my best swing on it and surrendered the outcome on it."
"It was the emotions of haven't played in a year and a half, coming back and that was my second at bat of the year," Devine continued. "The emotions were high and you kind of see in the video I showed you some emotion with it, it's something I'll definitely remember forever."
"It was a great swing," Gernon said. "I had a great bird's eye view of it and it was a no doubter type of swing and it was welcome back Drew Devine."
And now that he's back and healthy, expectations are high for the kid that grew up just 40 minutes east of WMU.
"I won't set any expectations or limits on Drew Devine," Gernon said. "He could go into orbit as far as I'm concerned, he could be a first team shortstop without a question, could lead the league in doubles, lead our team in multiple offensive categories..."
"I came here ready to work hard," Devine added. "I wouldn't change it for the world, this is the greatest university on this earth and I absolutely love it."
Devine and the Broncos are scheduled to travel to Saint Louis for another non-conference three game series this weekend.