|Redbird players bounce back after injuries|
|Written by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:25|
While ISU basketball player Jackie Carmichael’s buzzer beater might be the most recent memory Redbird fans have of ISU taking the No. 1 play of the top-10 plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter, the two-year anniversary of Ty Wiesemeyer earning the top-spot on the show on April 30, 2010 is quickly approaching.
Despite crashing into Wichita State’s bullpen bench, ISU left fielder Wiesemeyer was still able to come up with the catch in foul territory to earn him a spot on SportsCenter.
However, soon after the senior reached an all-time high, he reached an all-time low as a wrist injury kept Wiesemeyer sidelined for the entire 2011 campaign. But he was not alone as junior Eric Aguilera suffered a similar ailment that also forced him to sit out last season.
“I didn’t feel good that [Aguilera] was injured, but it was nice to have somebody else that was injured at the same time so we could go work out together and talk to each other if we were depressed about not being able to play,” Wiesemeyer said. “We did a lot of work together like hitting and throwing over the summer to try and get back on track for this year.”
A season-ending injury can be devastating, but it allows the athlete to gain a redshirt year and be part of the ISU baseball program for five seasons.
Aguilera reaped an additional benefit. As a junior college transfer from Heartland Community College, Aguilera was afforded the opportunity to sit back and watch his teammates' last season in an effort to see what it takes to be a successful player at the NCAA Division I level.
“Sitting out is something you don’t want to do,” Aguilera said. “But when getting that year to watch all the guys and see how the game goes at this level you can pick up things that you can use when you are given the opportunity. So that’s something that I appreciate and use this year.”
Kevin Tokarski experienced three surgeries and sat out the 2010 season. With only one year under his belt in the program as a freshman in 2009, Tokarski was removed from action the following season due to injury and used the year as a learning experience but missed out on some team bonding.
“That year was brutal,” Tokarski said. “You don’t get to spend time with the team on the road and have to stay back. You put your work in when the team is gone and come back stronger than ever. You definitely get a different perspective of the game. You take a step back, try to learn as much as you can, and you see a different point of view. So I think that helped a lot.”
Tokarski returned in 2011 to post a .282 batting average and 25 stolen bases, good for second on the team.
This season, the senior currently sports a .317 batting average and 28 RBIs, second-best on the team. Tokarski holds the program’s career base-stealing record with 100 swipes.
Wiesemeyer is tied atop the batting average leader board for the Redbirds, hitting .357 with 26 RBIs after a year off, while Aguilera has a team-best six home runs with a .326 batting average and 27 RBIs.
When returning to play following his injury, Wiesemeyer relished the opportunity to get out on the field and does not take it for granted.
“It was really tough being on the sidelines watching everybody play, but it gave me a new sense of meaning to the game,” he said. “The game means a lot more to me and I cherish every game more now.”