Wade never backed down

Published 1:27 am Friday, May 24, 2019


Daily News

When the Callaway Cavaliers opened the season in February, there was a familiar face manning the shortstop position.

Drake Wade has been starting since he was a freshman, and he’s been a spark plug ever since with his aggressive brand of baseball.

If there’s an extra base to be taken, Wade will take it.

Sometimes Wade runs into an out, but having him making things happen at the top of the lineup is a key reason why the Cavaliers have enjoyed such tremendous success over the past few years.

So it stands to reason that Wade, as has been the case for most of his time as a high-school player, would be in the starting lineup for the season opener.

That Wade would be out there with his teammates for the first game was far from a given a few months earlier, though.

There was, in fact, some question as to whether Wade would ever again play the sport that has brought him so much joy.

Last August, Wade was involved in an ATV accident that left him with a seriously injured back that left his future in doubt.

When it happened, there was the possibility that Wade would even be paralyzed, and that fortunately wasn’t the case.

As for playing baseball, according to doctors that likely wasn’t going to happen for a while.

“When we finally got the word that I wasn’t paralyzed, they said it was going to be a year and a half to two years before I could play,” Wade said.

For Wade, that was not acceptable.

The same s tenacity that serves him so well on the baseball field was about to help him through an arduous rehabilitation process.

“I’m just going to give it all I got, leave it all on the field,” Wade said, recalling his thought process at the time. “That was kind of my mindset with my back, is it’s all or nothing. I gave it all I had, and thank God the outcome came out good.”

First up was surgery that involved having two rods and eight screws placed in his back.

Then it was time to get to work.

“I pushed myself to the max in physical therapy,” Wade said. “My therapist kept saying he saw improvements. That definitely got me most excited. I just pushed myself to the max.”

That wasn’t the only surgery Wade was rehabbing from, either.

At the close of the 2018 baseball season in May after Callaway lost in the state semifinals, Wade underwent shoulder surgery, and he was recovering from that when he had his accident.

“I tore all three ligaments in my shoulder,” Wade said. “I had major surgery, and then two months after that I was back in the hospital. I had to stop that process. I was about to be released, and then my back happened. It was rough.”

Yet Wade persevered, and he was sharing the field with his friends and teammates on opening day.

Even with a repaired back and shoulder, Wade was the same player he always was, going 100 percent every moment of every game.

He anchored the defense from his shortstop position, and frustrated opposing teams from the leadoff spot in the order.

Wade and his teammates made it all the way to the state semifinals before losing a hard-fought series to Rockmart.

“It was amazing, especially with what happened last summer,” Wade said “My teammates really pushed me to be the best I could be this year. I have a feeling that’s a big reason why I’m here today. They really helped me with that.”

Wade added that “a lot of people doubted us this year. That makes this year so much better, because we were doubted. We didn’t know where we were going to be. We pushed, and worked, and we came out on top.”

One of Wade’s number one supporters is Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard.

“Just what he went through, for him to be able to come back and play, it’s just amazing,” Hubbard said. “Not many people realize, at the end of last year, he had surgery on his left shoulder. So he was rehabbing that when he got hurt. So he was rehabbing two injuries at the same time.”

While Wade’s time as a high-school player is over, he’s far from done with the sport.

Wade has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Southern Union College, a two-year school in Alabama.

Wade will look to excel at Southern Union and then move on to a four-year school to continue his baseball career.

“I’m going to put in as much work as I can there, and hopefully come out with a starting spot,” Wade said.