Canevin alumnus Vance overcomes injury, has big season at Wooster
Staying in shape during the offseason nearly kept Wooster College baseball player Frank Vance from being able to play.
While lifting weights during the offseason, Vance came down awkwardly on his knee. Knowing something wasn't right, there was a concern there was an ACL tear.
“There wasn't a pop or anything,” the Bishop Canevin graduate said. “But it didn't feel right. It ended up being a torn meniscus, which was actually good news. It was a three or four month recovery time from the surgery, and it was about four months until the season started.”
After his surgery, Vance worked five days a week to get back to 100 percent. He saw a physical therapist three days a week and spent time in the training room at the school.
“It wasn't easy,” Vance said. “I guess the hardest part was staying off it and going to class. It was a hassle.
“Also, watching everyone else lift to get ready for the season while I was working to get back to square one was hard.”
He was held to certain limitations as the season rolled around. Vance was limited to how much he could run and the amount of swings he was able to take a day.
“Frank is an outstanding young man, a very talented player and great teammate,” Wooster coach Tim Pettorini said. “Early in the season he was recovering from knee surgery, which limited him from playing his natural position of third base.
“However he settled in as our DH and had an outstanding year for us offensively. We are looking for even better things from Frank in the future.”
As a designated hitter, Vance was able to provide the team a solid at-bat. Vance finished with a .360 batting average with seven doubles, 16 runs scored and 16 RBI.
“When I look back and there was a lot of pressure with two outs and the bases loaded, I was able to come through,” Vance said. “I started slow on our season and went 2 of 22 when we went to Florida at the beginning of the season. My knee took some pop out of my bat, and I think that may have been the difference with me not hitting as hard.”
The Scots had a strong season, winning the North Coast Athletic Conference title — the 15th in school history. The team competed in the NCAA Division III tournament and fell in the Mideast Regional to Washington & Jefferson, 8-7, in 13 innings. Wooster finished with a 33-12 record.
“It felt like we underachieved,” Vance said. “I think we all expected to do more than to lose in the regional. Someday I will look back and realize ultimately how successful it was.”
While it wasn't how the Scots wanted to end the year, the team is looking forward to next season. Wooster loses only three seniors and returns a junior class of 18 players.
Vance hopes returning to 100 percent will lead to another strong season.
“I know all 35 or 40 guys are excited about the potential of next year,” Vance said. “I know we are bringing in a big freshman class. It is always interesting to see how they work out.
“There are a lot of high expectations.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.