Ely, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- It was the last week of the regular season. Sitting at (16–0), Ely had their eyes set on a perfect season, not what was about to happen.
"All of a sudden we hear a boom like two bats hitting each other, and we turn and there's Bobby on the ground," said Timberwolves head coach Frank Ivancich.
Senior Louie Gerzin had been taking a few swings in front of the dugout before the game.
Then in a freak accident, Gerzin caught fellow senior Bobby Shusta on his follow–through.
"There was some bleeding in the brain," Ivancich said. "He took a pretty good shot on the top of the head off of that back swing and airlifted him to Duluth. Pretty much the game didn't mean a whole lot after that."
For the first time that season, the Timberwolves lost a game. With Shusta recovering in Duluth from a skull fracture and bleeding in the brain, Gerzin knew where he needed to be, and it wasn't on the diamond.
"I stayed with him in Duluth the whole time just to make sure he was alright," said Gerzin. "It was my best friend since we were three–years–old."
For the first time in nearly two and a half weeks, Shusta returned to the ballpark on Monday to practice with the team. He even got in a few cuts during batting practice.
If all goes well, he could be back as soon as Thursday for the team's state game.
"A couple of weeks ago, we didn't know whether he was even going to be able to play anymore," said Ivancich. "Even play sports anymore. Now there's probably a pretty good possibility he's going to see a little bit of action in the state tournament."
And no one would like to see him back on the field more than Gerzin.
"Something like that happens, it's pretty devastating," he said. "But then when you know he's going to be alright and it's not really anyone's fault, it's easier to let go."
Gerzin and the Timberwolves let go in time to take home the Section 7A crown.
Now, they're on a mission: keep winning and get Shusta back.
"The longer we keep on playing, the better opportunity he has to play so we're going to keep this thing going," said Ivancich.