Legion Pitcher Doesn't Let Setback Affect His Game
If you've watched the Grand Forks Royals this year, chances are you've seen them light up opposing pitchers. But something was different about a Fargo pitcher they faced on Tuesday.
"I haven't ever been timed, but I can do it pretty fast," pitcher and centerfielder Leo O'Day said.
O'Day isn't talking about the speed on his fastball. He's talking about putting on his glove after throwing it.
"Pitching, I keep it under my armpit and I sometimes barehand the ball, which my coaches don't like much, but sometimes I do it. In the outfield, I use my right hand, hold it on there, go underneath, grab it and throw. I've gotten pretty fast though," O'Day said.
O'Day was born with a short left arm that only goes as far as his elbow.
But he says because he was born with it, he was able to learn to play baseball like millions of Americans.
"When I was younger, my parents were in the backyard with me throwing the ball around seeing if I could do it. Every sport that I've ever wanted to play they were like 'yeah go try it,'" O'Day said.
"I think Leo's drive really is what brought him to the accomplishments that he has been able to make. I think he knew as a kid he'd have to work really hard," Leo's father Patrick O'Day said.
O'Day says when he pitches, he doesn't worry about getting hit by the ball because he's been hit before and it doesn't hurt.
And when he steps off the mound and into the outfield, it doesn't even cross his mind that he is taking his glove on and off his hand, because for him, it's as routine as a fly ball.
"Because I've been playing for so long. Everything I've done comes with repetition over the years and now I don't even think about it anymore," O'Day said.
O'Day was frustrated after getting swept by the Royals Tuesday, but when the game ended, he put his emotions to the side and walked off of the field just like the rest of his teammates.
O'Day recently graduated from Fargo South. He'll attend UND next year and study electrical engineering. He says he might try to play on the club baseball team.