When Zeke Dees was 8 years old, his baseball career should have come to a sudden end. The elementary schooler suffered right arm paralysis when his ATV hit a tree on the family farm in Mechanicsburg. His recovery has been significant, but he still has virtually no functionality in his right arm, leaving him to complete all tasks with just his left arm. That includes competing in his favorite sport, baseball.
Incredibly, Dees has developed routines that allow him to compete for the varsity baseball team at Emmanuel Christian High School. He swings by holding the bat with his left arm, keeping it upright and swinging through to make contact with the ball. In the field, where he competes as an outfielder, he has to make a catch with the glove on his left hand, flip the ball in the air, drop the glove, catch it and then fire it into the infield when necessary.
As reported by the Dayton Daily News, there has always been skepticism about Dees’ ability to swing a bat or complete a catch-and-throw maneuver since his accident. Now, as a sophomore, Dees is beginning to turn his teammates into believers.
”We tried the thing where you catch it, flip the glove up, just to see what it’s like, and it’s crazy hard,” fellow sophomore Dylan Herring told the Daily News. “He’s worked really hard to get good at what he’s doing.”
No, Dees isn’t one of Emmanuel’s top batters. He is currently hitting to a .146 average while also getting plenty of playing time in left field. Still, he’s an integral part of the team, as well as a motivator for many of his teammates, even if Dees doesn’t find anything he does particularly odd or unique anymore.
“I don’t even think about it anymore,” Dees told the Daily News. “I just try to do my best at everything I can do. … Yes, I have a disability, but I don’t want that to stop me. I want to be treated the same, because I am just like another player. To me, I have two arms basically.
“Every now and then I remember I have one arm. I look at people with two arms and I’m like, ‘How can you do that?’ It’s weird to me because I’m so used to doing everything with one arm.”