The senior will be in uniform and available to pinch run when Central takes on Bowling Green on Friday in the opening of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington.
Game time is set for 8:30 p.m. “I started throwing today,” Ferris said on Tuesday. “So, if we win the first two games (at state), I can come back for the state championship game.” That would be a remarkable accomplishment considering all that Ferris has been through recently.
The right-handed pitcher emerged as a Division I prospect during the summer prior to his junior year. That season was cut short. In a win over Male on April 13, 2017 in Louisville, Ferris damaged the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. He had to have surgery and did not pitch again the rest of the year.
“It’s a long process. You start with 20 throws from 20 feet,” Ferris said. “I threw my first bullpen in December. That was like an early Christmas present. I worked all summer to come back. I went to rehab three days a week.” Ferris battled back and made his return to the mound exactly one year later — April 13, 2018 — against Pendleton County. He pitched two shutout innings and had six strikeouts.
The senior pitched again a week later against Southwestern. He threw two more scoreless innings and had four more strikeouts. “He hit 92 (miles per hour) at Western a month ago and we just said, ‘Wow. We got something special here,’” Roof said. The comeback, however, got delayed.
Ferris began to feel pain in his elbow and again had to seek medical advice.
The examination showed no damage. That good news was quickly overshadowed by another unfortunate event. “The day I went to the doctor to get cleared to throw again, I broke my wrist,” Ferris said.
That injury happened in a most unlikely fashion. The senior was shagging balls during batting practice and ran into the brick wall that runs up the first-base side of Don Richardson Field. “The first thing he said was, ‘I caught the ball.’ That’s just the way he is,” Roof said of Ferris. “He is a great competitor and a great leader.”
His injury problems have put him on the receiving end of more than a few light-hearted jokes from his teammates and the Central coaching staff.
“Oh yeah. Everyone gives me a hard time about it,” the senior said with a laugh.
Ferris signed with Eastern Kentucky University last November. Through all his injuries, the Colonel coaching staff has stayed in touch with the senior and have monitored his recovery and rehabilitation. “They call me about once a week,” Ferris said. “They told me just to get all the injuries out of the way now.”
Right now, Ferris and the Indians are focused on trying to win a state championship.
Despite having a large cast on his left hand, the senior has served as a pinch runner for Central during the postseason. He scored three runs as the Indians defeated Scott County, 8-6, Sunday to win the 11th Region Tournament.
Ferris is scheduled to get the cast off next week and could be available to pitch if Central advances to the state title game, which is set for June 16. “That would be the storybook ending,” Roof said.