The Statesville Owls won’t have Patric King’s services for Friday’s home doubleheader against Ballantyne or Saturday’s road doubleheader at Pineville, but the injured catcher anticipates returning to the lineup Monday.
“I’m supposed to talk to the doctor that day,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m feeling pretty good. this turned out not to be as bad as I thought it might be, so that’s always a good thing.”
King sustained non-displaced fracture to the orbital bone below his right eye during pre-game batting practice July 7 and has been out of the Owls’ lineup since that time.
King was throwing under hand toss behind the screen to Owls and Charlotte 49ers teammate Derek Gallello in the batting cage. Gallello launched one of the balls through an apparent hole in the net and it struck King flush, gashing him above and below the eye.
With blood dripping from his face, King was rushed to Iredell Memorial Hospital, where he said staff cleaned up the injured area and gave him an eye exam and CT scan.
Afterward, his mother drove him to Carolinas Medical Center Main, where he said a plastic surgeon used stitches to sew up his wound.
No surgery was required, and he said Thursday he can see out of the eye fine.
“If the ball hit me in the mouth, I’ve got teeth loose,” said the Indian Trail native. “If it hits me in the nose, I’ve got a broken nose and you’ve got to do some serious surgery to fix that. You never know. You count your blessings, thank God for every day and thank him for nothing else happening. I thank God I still have sight in my eye. That’s a blessing in itself.”
Gallello expressed remorse, but King wasn’t mad at him regarding the “freak accident.”
“I was like, ‘Ah, it happens. no big deal,’ ” King said. “You can’t really prepare for those things.”
The timing of the injury couldn’t have been much worse.
King, a Levine Scholar at Charlotte who red-shirted with the 49ers as a freshman last season, was red-hot at the plate. in the five games he played leading up to injury he was 9 of 17 with a home run and three RBIs to raise his season batting average to .340. Statesville won four of those games.
“It is what it is,” King said. “I love baseball. I love playing. whenever I can get back out there and start hitting again, it’s going to feel good.”
Entering Thursday, the Owls (13-17) were sixth in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League standings, one game ahead of last-place Asheville (12-16) but also just 4 ½ games out of first place.
The top six teams qualify for the SCBL tournament, scheduled to begin July 26.
“I’m pretty confident in what we’ve been doing,” King said.
“hopefully, we’ll make a run and get in the tournament. I’m looking forward to it.”