Botsoe holds bright future despite injury

Junior center fielder Chris Botsoe had his eye pushed back into his head. His nose was shattered and he had broken bones in his cheek. There was a pinched nerve across his face. He can’t field or bat at the moment. The farthest he gets on the field is to congratulate teammates.

Botsoe sustained these injuries when he was hit by a wild pitch during the Glenbard West game. This will hold out the speedy center fielder for at least two more weeks.

But this does not deter Botsoe’s spirit. It doesn’t stop him from keeping up a constant verbal banter from the dugout that ranges from supporting his teammates to talking a little bit of smack at opponents.

“I like to trash talk and getting in the other team’s head,” Botsoe said. “I back it up, so I’m gonna keep on trash talking. If I didn’t (have the skill to) back it up, I wouldn’t say anything. I like it.”

Backing it up could be understatement. Perfect Game Baseball ranks Botsoe as the No. 3 class of 2015 prospect in Illinois. His ascension in the ranks of high school baseball came early, as multiple universities recruited him as just a freshman while he attended St. Laurence Catholic High School in Burbank, IL He transferred to Central for his sophomore year.

With multiple schools showing interest, Botsoe ultimately decided on University of Louisville. The Cardinals compete in the newly formed American Athletic Conference. They currently hold an astounding 40-12 record and are ranked fifth in the country. But, besides the chance to win, Botsoe feels like the Cardinals have a real family atmosphere.

“The coaches are just really nice and treat me like a son,” Botsoe said. “They have a bunch of other kids from Illinois that are there also, so I know they like to come out here and look at our games.”

Another Illinois resident headed to Louisville is Mount Carmel outfielder Josh Stowers. Botsoe and Stowers pair up together during the summer to play for elite travel team, Gravel Baseball.

In addition, while Botsoe is currently injured and anxious to get back on the field, Louisville provided an immediate opportunity with little anxiety of waiting.

“I do have the chance to play as a freshman there, so that was also a big part in me choosing Louisville,” Botsoe said.

The choice seemed to come effortlessly to Botsoe, but some wonder why he made his decision so early in his high school career.

“It was a lot easier,” Botsoe said.  “After I committed, I could just have fun and play and not worry about college coaches coming to see me because I already decided on a school.”

With his head cleared, Botsoe could focus on the game he loved. During his sophomore season as a Devil, he hit a .444 batting average and recorded 11 stolen bases.

Botsoe’s torrid pace continued into this season as he started his junior campaign with six RBIs (runs batted in) and six stolen bases, but this momentum came to a sudden halt after the injury.

“I had surgery two weeks ago on Monday,” Botsoe said.  “My eye was pushed back in my head and my nose was shattered. I broke two bones in my cheek and pinched a nerve across my face.”

Despite the injuries, Botsoe instantly wanted to get back on the field. But heeding the doctor’s advice, he continued to root on from the dugout.

“It sucks, sitting out,” Botsoe said. “I want to come back, but I know I should wait it out until I’m 100 percent.”

His projected recovery is two weeks from today, putting his return right around the start of the playoffs. The junior centerfielder’s speed and knack for big hits would be a huge asset for Central come playoff time.

The Devils are looking to make a strong push at the end of the regular season as they recently split a crucial double header with OPRF and are winners of nine of their last ten.