Tournaments | Story | 6/4/2015

Despite adversity Stevens thrives

Chris Garcia        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – Many athletes are faced with obstacles throughout their sports careers, but very few can say that they had to overcome the obstacle of playing with the absence of a limb. Born with no left arm, the Excel Blue Sox’s Josh Stevens is one of those proud few.

In a game like baseball, to play with only one arm is next to impossible and most people would shy away from the idea of competing in a sport; but for Stevens, it merely means just having to put in a little more effort than the next guy to play the game that he loves. Performing everyday tasks with that kind of disability is a challenge in itself, but to play baseball at a high level is unfathomable.

Given his disability, Stevens knew that it would take an extraordinary amount of hard work to be able to compete at a high level, but his passion for baseball has driven him to chase his dream no matter what the circumstance.

Earlier this morning, the Excel Blue Sox opened up pool play against the Ohio Force in hopes of starting the 2015 16u PG/East Cobb Invitational off right. They were not able to pull out the win, however, losing 7-6 in a game that came down to the very last pitch.

If anything was gained from this first game, it was that the Blue Sox learned that they are a team that refuses to quit, even when the odds are against them. That philosophy is something that Stevens and his teammates pride themselves on. Stevens has been defying the odds his entire baseball career, and he is looking to this tournament to put some wins up and impress the many scouts lurking around the LakePoint complex in Emerson, Ga.

We won our first tournament, and came in third in the last one, so we feel pretty good coming into this tournament,” said Stevens. “This summer, our main focus is to win and just get better because this summer and next summer are really important for recruitment.”

Stevens has aspirations to play on the college level, and has already received attention from small schools, but his desire is to play baseball in his home state of Alabama. Although Stevens plays outfield, he mainly considers himself a pitcher. Both positions have required tough adjustments in order for him to be efficient on the ballfield, but to Stevens, these adjustments are just another part of playing the game.

I’ve just had to work getting my glove on and off fast when a ball is hit to me, but I got that down pretty fast,” said Stevens. “I also have to hit with one arm, and that was tough at first, but now it seems to be working pretty well for me.”

Josh’s mother is very proud of the way that he has continued to grow as a young man and is happy to see that he is following his passion for baseball.

It’s been pretty amazing to watch him,” said his mother. “God has gifted him with some amazing abilities and he has used those to overcome obstacles.”

Stevens has worked tirelessly to find ways around his disability and the work seems to be paying off. Although he is only coming off of his sophomore year of high school, Stevens carries himself in a very professional way, displaying hustle and focus on and off the field. Besides those qualities, his determination and will to compete is something special.

I’ve played since I was six,” added Stevens. “Other people play, so I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to. Nothing has stopped me yet, and I’m just going to continue to work every single day and hopefully play ball at the next level.

My advice for anyone with a disability who would like to play sports is to just work hard. If you work hard enough at it, you can get there and do everything just as well as everyone else can. Don’t let anything hold you back.”

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