Northeast Times

The comeback kid

Fath­er Judge pitch­er CJ Felthaus has over­come nu­mer­ous obstacles to com­pete on the dia­mond. The seni­or copes with he­mo­phil­ia, a blood-clot­ting dis­order, and also is re­cov­er­ing from a shoulder in­jury.

No mat­ter how many times CJ Felthaus gets knocked down, he keeps com­ing back for more.

A seni­or pitch­er for the Fath­er Judge High School base­ball squad, Felthaus has over­come one in­jury after an­oth­er on the dia­mond. He missed the ma­jor­ity of this sea­son be­cause of a strained delt­oid in his left shoulder, but last week he made his re­turn to the hill. 

“This is my first time back in a while. It felt really good to play again,” said Felthaus after pitch­ing the sev­enth in­ning against Monsignor Bon­ner on May 12. “I’m fine. I’m a little sore, but my arm feels good … a lot bet­ter than it did.”

Felthaus was summoned to the mound dur­ing the fi­nal outs of last week’s battle against Bon­ner. Felthaus fanned a bat­ter, al­low­ing one hit but no runs dur­ing his brief time in the game. 

“That in­ning was maybe the (only) sev­enth in­ning all sea­son he’s thrown, so that in­jury has really been both­er­ing him a bit,” ex­plained head coach Tim Ginter. “He’s done all the work from the phys­ic­al ther­ap­ist and got­ten the clear­ance from the doc­tors. He’s done everything and he still wants to come back. He’s do­ing whatever it takes for his team­mates. I’m really proud of him. I give him a lot of cred­it.”

The Cru­saders lost last week, 8-6, but not without a fight. They slugged 11 hits in the game, ral­ly­ing to score five runs in the fifth in­ning, but it wasn’t enough to de­feat Bon­ner — which, with the win, clinched first place in the Cath­ol­ic League Red Di­vi­sion. 

Fath­er Judge is now 3-7 on the sea­son. The Cru­saders were slated to play Car­din­al O’Hara on Monday, but the game was post­poned be­cause of in­clement weath­er. Judge will play its fi­nal two games of the reg­u­lar sea­son — both against O’Hara — on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day. (Those games were sched­uled after the Times went to press this week.)

“I feel like, with this group of guys that we have, we are tal­en­ted enough to go far,” said Felthaus. “We’re tak­ing it one game at a time, and hope­fully we’ll go pretty deep in­to the play­offs.”

As the Cru­saders em­bark on the home stretch of the sea­son, for Felthaus — one of many seni­ors on this year’s roster — there’s cer­tainly a sense of nos­tal­gia. A lifelong North­east Phil­adelphia res­id­ent, Felthaus has con­trib­uted to the Cru­saders base­ball pro­gram for four years. He has had quite a few in­jur­ies along the way, yet he has al­ways shown his Cru­sader pride. 

“I’m sure it’s been frus­trat­ing for him. It’s cer­tainly not what we en­vi­sioned for him, and I know it’s not what he en­vi­sioned,” said Ginter of Felthaus’ latest in­jury. “He’s done everything that he can to get on the field, and I give him a ton of cred­it for that.

“It shows that Judge means that much to him. He’s go­ing to try to fight through and give us whatever he can give us,” Ginter con­tin­ued. 

In ad­di­tion to over­com­ing his should in­jury, Felthaus has dealt with his share of bumps and bruises along the way. On April 15, dur­ing the Cru­saders’ 8-3 vic­tory over Frank­ford, Felthaus was knocked un­con­scious while try­ing to score on a close play at the plate. 

“It was all right,” Felthaus re­called with a laugh. “I was try­ing to score and got hit in the head. I was out for a couple of days, but I was fine.”

Per­haps his biggest battle, though, has been with he­mo­phil­ia — a blood dis­order char­ac­ter­ized by a de­fi­ciency of nor­mal blood-clot­ting factors, thus al­low­ing any minor cut to po­ten­tially cause in­tern­al or ex­tern­al bleed­ing.

Dia­gnosed as a new­born, Felthaus has been tak­ing in­jec­tion treat­ments of a med­ic­a­tion for most of his life. The in­tra­ven­ous treat­ment is com­monly used by he­mo­phil­i­acs to pre­vent severe bleed­ing epis­odes. 

“I try not to think about it too much. I usu­ally just get a treat­ment be­fore the game like a nor­mal day,” Felthaus ex­plained. “Then, if I get hurt, I’ll treat it after the game. It’s a bleed­ing dis­order, so ba­sic­ally when I bump my­self on something, it’ll bleed in­tern­ally.”

Des­pite the risk of ser­i­ous in­jur­ies com­mon with base­ball, or any sport for that mat­ter, Felthaus has been com­pet­ing on the dia­mond for most of his life — a cour­ageous act that has earned him a pres­ti­gi­ous award on the Fath­er Judge base­ball field. 

With­in the Cru­saders’ pro­gram, the No. 27 jer­sey rep­res­ents the 27 Fath­er Judge alumni who sac­ri­ficed their lives in Vi­et­nam. In the past, No. 27 has been re­tired by Fath­er Judge in all sports in hon­or of the 27 war her­oes. However, in re­cent years, the base­ball pro­gram de­cided to award the num­ber to a seni­or play­er worthy of wear­ing it. 

This year, that num­ber is on Felthaus’ back.  ldquo;In the be­gin­ning of the year, he was awar­ded the No. 27 for his hard work, his ded­ic­a­tion,” ex­plained Ginter. “It’s fit­ting based on what he’s been through this year to try and fight and get as many in­nings and try to be as pro­duct­ive as he can pos­sibly be for the team. 

“Since 2007, it’s been a coach­ing-staff award,” he con­tin­ued. “It’s a spe­cial num­ber. The kids un­der­stand that. He (Felthaus) was really happy and honored to be able to wear it. Everything he’s been through this year, its very fit­ting that that’s his num­ber.” 

When his play­ing days end at Fath­er Judge, Felthaus will con­tin­ue his ath­let­ic and aca­dem­ic ca­reers at the Uni­versity of Scrant­on, where he plans to study — very fit­tingly — ex­er­cise sci­ence. 

“I’d like to work some­where in phys­ic­al ther­apy or sports medi­cine,” ex­plained Felthaus, an hon­or stu­dent at Fath­er Judge. “Be­ing around doc­tors all the time when I was young­er and al­ways play­ing sports, I think it’s a really in­ter­est­ing field to get in­to.

“You should be able to play if you want to play,” he con­tin­ued. “I al­ways have a lot of fun play­ing base­ball, be­ing around my friends and play­ing a sport we all love. Work­ing hard and work­ing to­geth­er for that win, it’s something spe­cial.” ••

Sports ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­erkov@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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