After he was hit in the face with a pitch during a game against North Sevier in April 2011, some thought Gunnison's Rylan Anderson might never play again. Besides the damage to his face, doctors worried his brain was at risk.
His absence from the diamond lasted about a month, and the then-junior wore a protective face mask when he returned. But the memory of that high fastball was hard to overcome, and Anderson and his mates lost earlier than expected prompting the pitcher-catcher to vow he'd make it all the way back.
He did. And it was more than just a recovery. In his senior season, Anderson was better than ever. And for his efforts, he has been named The Salt Lake Tribune's 2A baseball MVP.
Anderson was a perfect 9-0 on the mound this season. When catching, he hit .488 and controlled the defense for Gunnison this season.
The Bulldogs went 24-2 and defeated Richfield 6-4 for the 2A baseball title their first since 2008.
"Just the whole experience was great," said Anderson. "After going through the injury last year, I couldn't think of a better way to go out."
Anderson said the postseason run brought him and his senior teammates their only state title during a four-year career. He threw the final strikeout in the title game to seal the title.
"Baseball is pretty big down here, and it was cool to see people congratulating us and making it a big deal."