Twice already, Will Rohrich has cancelled scheduled surgery to repair his injured knee. If things go as the Sacred Heart senior hopes, he'll have to cancel again next week.
It all depends on how far the Eagles advance in the Minnesota Class A state high school baseball tournament.
Unseeded Sacred Heart plays No. 3 Hayfield at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals of the state tournament in Jordan. If Sacred Heart reaches next week's state championship game, the scheduling conflict arises again -- baseball or surgery.
"The first (surgery scheduled) was assuming we lost in the playoffs right away,'' Rohrich said. "Another was scheduled if we lost late in the playoffs. If I had surgery, I wouldn't be a part of our team. So I decided to push through and play.''
Rohrich tore ligaments in his injured knee and suffered cartilage damage in his first match in the North Dakota Class A state wrestling tournament in February. Despite the injury, Rohrich -- who wrestled for Grand Forks Central -- kept winning at state, reaching the 170-pound championship match before being defeated 3-1.
Immediately after wrestling came the baseball season.
"My doctor gave me the option to play or have surgery,'' Rohrich said. "He knew I really wanted to play. I just put on the brace and play through (the pain). The brace does get hot.
"There have been several times where I've asked myself if it was worth it. Sometimes the pain made me wonder if I should just have the surgery. But I decided to keep going. And it's been worth it.''
Rohrich has had to adjust the way he's hit, run and play defense. But the outfielder has been effective, missing only two games and batting .316.
"Will's hit well,'' Sacred Heart coach Paul Bethke said. "I can't imagine that's easy, basically hitting with one leg.
"He's a tough kid. He's never complained about anything. It's his senior year and he was looking forward to baseball. He wanted to finish his career.''
Sacred Heart also was without Evan Sczepanski (wrist injury) for the first half of the season. He's come back to hit .357 and go 4-2 with a 1.79 earned run average on the mound.
Sczepanski, Brenden Bethke (6-1, 0.68) and Oscar Ortiz (2-2, 1.35) lead a pitching staff that has a 2.03 ERA and is holding opponents to a .177 batting average.
"Oscar is more of a pitch-to-contact type of pitcher, mixing up his stuff,'' Paul Bethke said. "Brenden and Evan are more dominant, strikeout types of pitchers. They can overpower hitters.''
Sacred Heart takes a 13-8 record to the state tournament. It is the Eagles' second straight appearance. Last season they lost 4-3 in the quarterfinals when Heritage Christian Academy scored the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Heritage Christian Academy went on to win the state tournament. Sacred Heart was eliminated 9-8 in the consolation semifinals. Only three seniors were starters on that Eagles team.
"We're going there with a chip on our shoulder,'' Ortiz said. "It was bitter last year, losing like that. It was devastating to see them go on and win it.
"A lot of us were there at state. Our pitching is back. Our bats are hot now.''
Sacred Heart at a glance
Coach: Paul Bethke.
Record: 13-8, repeat Section 8A champion.
Thursday’s Class A state tournament opener: The unseeded Eagles play No. 3 Hayfield at 5:30 p.m. in the state quarterfinals at Chaska.
Regular lineup: Sr. Ian Evavold (.200, 9 RBI, 14 SB), sr. Brenden Bethke (.373, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 15 SB), sr. Will Rohrich (.316, 11 RBI), fr. Cullen Rohrich (.400, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 19 SB), sr. Evan Sczepanski (.357), soph. Gage Wavra (.258, 13 RBI, 10 SB), sr. Oscar Ortiz (.339, 8 RBI), soph. Sam Modeen (.103), fr. Sam Gapp (.273, 11 RBI).
Regular pitchers: Bethke (6-1, 0.68 ERA, 66K in 41.1 IP), Ortiz (2-2, 1.35), Szepanski (4-2, 1.79, 52K in 31.1 IP).