Taking an unexpected twist: senior Luke Wright’s baseball recruitment goes from Division I to JUCO after summer injury


Courtesy of Luke Wright

Preparing to pitch, senior Luke Wright reads his pitching sign from his catcher. Wright has 22 strikeouts through five games pitched. “[Reading my catcher’s sign] is very important, we have to be on the same page to be successful throughout the game or else it’ll throw off our rhythm, and our team as a whole won’t be as successful,” Wright said

Having pitched one summer game, senior Luke Wright played in a baseball tournament in Wisconsin when he experienced an unexpected turn that changed his future baseball path: he tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) throwing a curveball mid-game. 

“[After that pitch] I came out of the game and told my coach where the pain was. The rest of the weekend I was super nervous because I knew I probably tore something,” Wright said. “I tried to hang out with my teammates to help me forget about [my arm], but I immediately started thinking about the worst possible outcomes.” 

After being told rehabilitation would take eight to nine months while roster spots were filling up on the Division I level, Wright switched his recruitment to the Junior College (JUCO) division.

“Completely switching my recruiting was very hard. You go from schools that you have heard of and watched on TV to schools you’ve never heard of,” Wright said. “It’s even harder to figure out the best fit, and sometimes it’s upsetting. I had to do a lot of research because most of [the junior college] schools I didn’t know anything about.”

Wright sparked the interest of John A. Logan College, Black Hawk College, Jefferson College, Iowa Western Community College and Heartland Community College.

“[Still having the hope of playing collegiate baseball] was a light at the end of a tunnel for me. Sitting out a whole summer was hard, but it was good to know there’s still more baseball ahead,” Wright said.

Wright decided to sign with Heartland Community College to continue his baseball career in Normal, Illinois. 

“I chose Heartland because they had really good facilities, and I loved the feel of the school,” Wright said. “I got along super well with the coaches, and I felt like Heartland would give me a really good chance to play Division I after my time there.”

After spending nine months recovering from this injury, Wright has started pitching this spring season for the varsity baseball team and has learned a lot from the experience.

“Anyone going through this needs to know that there are always good things ahead. If you work hard in physical therapy and do everything you can, you’ll come out better on the other side,” Wright said. “Even if your plans don’t go exactly how you expected, it’s okay. Everything happens for a reason.”