By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
January 30, 2014
How successful the 2014 season will be for the Callaway Cavaliers hinges in large part on Nick O’Berry.
O’Berry is a senior pitcher for the Cavaliers, and he’s expected to be the ace of the staff.
O’Berry has been a key part of the Callaway staff the past few seasons, and a year ago he pitched a complete game in a Game 3 victory over Southeast Bulloch in the first round of the state playoffs.
O’Berry will not, though, be in the rotation when the season kicks off, although he is on track to return fairly soon.
O’Berry had shoulder surgery shortly after the 2013 season, and Callaway coach Dusty Hubbard said he should be ready to go not long after the season begins.
“We’re shooting for maybe late February, getting him on the mound for the first time,” Hubbard said. “If we could have him in a game actually pitching by early to mid-march, I think we’d be pretty pleased with that.”
O’Berry pitched through the injury during his junior season, and he showed what he’s capable of in a winner-take-all Game 3 against Southeast Bulloch.
O’Berry pitched all seven innings, retiring nine of the final 10 batters he faced as the Cavaliers won 5-2.
O’Berry is also one of the Cavaliers’ top position players, and he was able to play center field while he wasn’t pitching last season.
Since having the surgery last June, O’Berry hasn’t thrown off a mound, but Hubbard said that’s coming soon.
Hubbard said the key for O’Berry is to continue to follow the program that was put in place for him.
“It’s almost like we have to protect him from himself,” Hubbard said. “He’s out there, and he’s wanting to amp it up now. He just has to stay patient with his throwing program and keep doing what he’s doing. He’s progressing along nicely. No pain or anything.”
Hubbard said O’Berry is “on a program where he’s throwing two days and taking a full day off to rest.”
As for the return date, Hubbard said “if we can get him back by then, that’d be great. If something happens and it’s a little sooner, that’d be even better.”
“We’re just going to take it slow, and his body will tell us what we can do,” Hubbard added. “The good thing is, he’s feeling good, and he doesn’t have any pain when he throws. I think that’s a positive.”