HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Life has thrown Michael Gilbert several curve balls, but the Southern Miss Senior just keeps swinging.
"It has been a long journey, a lot of hard work and hours spent to try and get back to this moment," Gilbert said. "It was definitely a moment I will remember forever, to be able to step back on this diamond with my brothers and get the sweep."
After a log fell on Gilbert's head during preseason conditioning drills in 2014, it was uncertain whether or not Michael would survive, much less ever play baseball again. In 2015 fate struck again when Gilbert tore his ACL.
Head Coach Scott Berry said, "It was an unfortunate injury that happened to him. His ability to come back and work hard every day to try and get himself not only back on the baseball field, but to get back his quality of life."
This weekend when Gilbert approached the plate he received a standing ovation from the community that never stopped believing in him.
"When I saw all of the people that had my back after both my injuries it hit me that people really care, and that's what drove me over the past year and a half," Gilbert said.
Gilbert's teammate and friend Taylor Braley said what he overcame is unbelievable.
"I am going to tell that story for the rest of my life," Braley said. "If I have any idol on this team it's definitely him. He keeps everyone going around here. You know you can never quit because he has always been through something worse."
Gilbert is a constant reminder to his teammates that any obstacle can be overcome, and when the right pitch comes be prepared to run the bases.
Gilbert and the Golden Eagles continue their season-opening eight-game homestand when they host ULM this Tuesday at 6 PM.