CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A local high school baseball player celebrated the biggest win of his life - with the game of his life.
Walker Smallwood is a senior at Dixie Heights High School and a pitcher for their baseball team.
At 15, he was diagnosed with bone cancer.
Walker never lost his smile, but he thought he lost baseball.
“My doctor kind of told me that it probably would never happen so, yeah, for a while I thought I’d never play again,” he said.
After surgeries, chemo cycles and treatments, Walker left the hospital and made his pitch to return for his senior season.
“Going out on the mound and kind of looking around and, like, ‘wow, I’m actually here.’ Like, I never thought that would actually happen, so just seeing the fans and seeing my teammates around me is a pretty awesome experience,” he said.
Pitching in a game for the first time in three years, no one really knew what to expect from Walker’s first outing. Maybe the expectations were to pitch a few innings and maybe even pitch well, but what happened next on this mound is something no one expected.
“We were just hoping that, you know, maybe he could get an inning, maybe a batter or two. Just to - just to have that opportunity to play again,” his father, Scott Smallwood said.
Nineteen strikeouts - no hits.
“Coming off the mound, I definitely had tears in my eyes and when I saw my parents I was - just - I didn’t even know what to say,” Walker said. “I definitely appreciate everything more and now I just get to look back and be thankful. I mean, every time I wake up, I’m happy. I know that tomorrow it can all be over, but you’ve just got to enjoy whatever you have that day. I wouldn’t change it. I like living like that. It’s a good - I think it’s a good way to go through life.”
The cancer is in remission, but he still does doctor checkups every three months.
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