Blue Springs Rod's Sports A's slugger makes most of comeback from shoulder surgery
Matt McHenry is making up for lost time.
The Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s right fielder missed most of his senior baseball season at Blue Springs High School following a Jan. 15 surgical procedure to repair a torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder.
“I got to pinch hit a couple of times before district (in high school),” McHenry said, “but that was about it. That’s why I’m so excited about this postseason with the A’s. I really feel like I’ve been able to contribute to this team and help us get as far as we have right now.”
The Athletics (44-6) won the Fifth District and regular-season championship crowns. They meet the Sedalia Post 642 Travelers at 8 tonight in the first round of the Zone 2 Tournament at Hidden Valley Park.
“We’re ready and we’re excited,” said McHenry, who has carried a big stick for the A’s this season.
He’s hitting .377 with a team-high seven homers, 40 RBIs and 35 runs scored. He also has a lofty .623 slugging percentage.
“I’d never had a multi-home run game until this summer,” McHenry said. “And I hit two in one inning in a tournament in Sedalia. I’m really seeing the ball well right now. After missing most of the high school season, I didn’t know how things would go, and they couldn’t be going any better.”
That pleases A’s manager Mike Rooney.
“You feel sorry for a kid when he misses almost all of his senior season in high school,” Rooney said. “But on the other hand, it makes you feel good when he comes back in the summer and hits the cover off the ball.
“Matt’s not only hit well all season, he’s gotten the hits when we needed them.”
Rooney treated McHenry with kid glove early in the season, not wanting to rush him back following surgery.
“Mike put me at first base, then used me in right field and lately, I’ve been doing some catching,” McHenry said. “I know he wanted to be careful with me, because of the surgery, and I appreciate that.
“Really, this season couldn’t have gone any better for me. I’m hitting well, we’re winning and I just got a scholarship.”
McHenry will attend Judson University, in Joliet, Ill.
“It’s so cool how that worked out,” McHenry said. “They had a returning senior at first base and his girlfriend didn’t wind up going to the school so they waived a lot of his scholarship money over to me.
“It’s a great school, a lot like William Jewell in Liberty, and I think it’s going to open the door to some great opportunities – both in baseball and academically.”
McHenry has enjoyed great success with his A’s teammates the past two years. The Blue Springs Wildcats won state and the A’s won the American Legion state crown in 2007.
“That was incredible, winning state in high school and American Legion,” McHenry said. “I’d never been on a team that won state ever, and last year we won two state titles.
“This year, we didn’t make it to state (in high school), but we want to make it with the A’s. The competition is so good this year. Both the St. Joseph (team that plays Blue Springs Post 499/Fike) and Sedalia teams are good. Fike is capable of beating anyone – so this should be a great tournament.
“It would be great to go out with bang and give Rooney Fifth District, zone and state championship titles. I think we’d all enjoy that a lot.”