Clarkston High School’s Justin Spencer suffered a dislocated kneecap last spring, but said that injury — sustained during the first baseball game of the Bantams’ season — only made him more determined to get back onto the field for American Legion during the summer.
Spencer did just that and posted a 2.60 ERA for the Asotin County Blues in 57 innings. Those numbers caught the eye of Spokane Falls Community College, which fancied Spencer as a pitcher and offered him a baseball scholarship. The high school senior signed Nov. 1.
“It really does take a big weight off my shoulders because I was getting down on myself after I injured myself and missed my junior season,” said Spencer, who, in addition to dislocating his kneecap, also suffered a level-two medial collateral ligament tear and a medial patellofemoral ligament sprain. “But I had a great summer season and it feels good to move on after putting in all that hard work to get myself back.”
Spencer had 63 strikeouts and threw 70 percent of his first pitches for strikes for the Blues.
“I was looking at a few NAIA schools and a couple of JCs,” Spencer said, “but I made my decision because (Spokane Falls) has a great pitching program with really great coaches who can help me move on to the next level.”
Justin Spencer, the son of Eric and Bobbi Spencer, said he plans to study education in college.
“It’s just a testament to him,” Eric Spencer said of his son rehabbing so quickly. “He was so positive about it. He wanted to get into therapy right away and I went with him almost every day.
“As a parent, your heart goes out to him (with the injury). And then to see how hard he worked, doing everything that was possible to make his dream and everything he’s been working so hard on come true, I’m just so proud.”
Clarkston coach Bruce Bensching said the Bantams will lean heavily upon Spencer this spring.
“He’ll be the leader on the mound,” Bensching said. “His strength is his consistency. He goes out there and challenges guys, throws lots of strikes.”
“It’ll be nice to have him back.”