Surgery no match for Georgia’s tenacious spirit

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Former Woodland baseball player Kyle Georgia returned to the diamond this year from hip surgery with the same determined attitude he has had throughout is baseball career. RA ARCHIVE

Slight remnants remain of the hip surgery that put former Woodland baseball player Kyle Georgia on the shelf for over three months. But the player that was given the nickname “Bama” at the age of 8 by his Pee Wee Reese coach Mike Kingsley, still displays that bulldog approach to the game of baseball.

“The bone in my hip was missed shaped since birth,” Georgia said. “It was only a matter of time before I needed to have that fixed.”

Doctors shaved the bone and fixed some damaged cartilage. After the surgery, Georgia was on crutches for six weeks with strict orders for no baseball for up to three months.

“I don’t know what was harder, the therapy or staying away from baseball,” Georgia said. “I’ve been playing this game since I was a little kid.”

If there was one game to be played that had to be won, Georgia is the type of player that anyone would want on their team. He is a difference maker and has been ever since he stepped foot on the diamond.

It’s not his bat speed or keen eye that has him flirting with a .300 average regularly. It’s not the overpowering fastball that explodes into the catcher’s mitt. What sets Georgia apart is an inner passion that just can’t be coached.

Players are born with natural ability. And then there is Georgia that has a burning desire to compete not like too many others. So when he began to feel that sensation running down his leg he knew it was time to have surgery.

“I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I just knew I had to work hard to get back out there,” he said.

Hard work is something the 2010 Woodland graduate knows a lot about. Ever since he was old enough to tie his own cleats Georgia has been a bulldog on the baseball field.

Beginning with the Robert Cole Little League in Beacon Falls and playing AAU ball for the Connecticut Wolves and later with the Wolverines, Georgia excelled at every level.

With his father Mark Georgia as his coach for the AAU teams Kyle and his teammates won a total of eight tournament championships.

Entering Woodland High School Georgia, a natural athlete, also played football his freshman year. Starting in his sophomore year he focused mainly on baseball, and the dedication he gave to the game began to pay off.

After being a member of the NVL regular season champs in his freshman year, Georgia went on to play in the league tournament championship game in his sophomore and junior season.

He was named to the All-NVL Honorable Mention team as a junior and senior. His prowess on the mound showed up in his junior year when he posted a team best 7-2 record with a stingy 1.68 ERA.

The Hawks went 13-7 in his senior year, and Georgia showed his ability to put his bat on the ball totting a healthy .343 average.

“My fondest memories is being a member of the 2007 NVL semifinal team with Matt Kane, Steve Corbett and Ken Graveline,” Georgia said.

Two years playing American Legion baseball taught Georgia a lesson in perseverance. While the young Legion team struggled, Georgia clearly made a name for himself as not only a competitor but one of the top pitchers in the Zone 5 circuit.

“Once I got rid of the crutches and finished my therapy I just wanted to get back out there,” Georgia said. “I went through a little tough patch after not playing for quite some time. But after a while I started to get back into a groove.”

Georgia who was to pitch for Wesleyan University before he had the surgery will now enter Manchester Community College in the fall. The Cougars played in the NJCAA Division 3 World Series last season after winning the Region 21 title for the fourth year in a row.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing baseball in college,” Georgia said. “I’m going in there focusing on being a position player. Not having the wear and tear on my hip from pitching will help me to strengthen my hip.”

Georgia added, “I’m just going up there and trying to make the team. I’m just looking to get the chance to help the team anyway I can.”

Based on his work ethic and passion for the game the Cougars will be getting a player who is a real difference maker.