The number two starting pitcher for the Florida Gulf Coast baseball team this season will be true freshman Devin Smeltzer. The left handed pitcher is a cancer survivor. As a nine year old doctors found a softball sized mass connected to his prostate. “I couldn’t go to school, I couldn’t go to the mall, I couldn’t go to any public place because of my immune system” said Smeltzer.
During the chemotherapy, the radiation and the disease that shaved 30 pounds off his already small frame, the one thing that drove him was baseball. “I actually got healthy enough while I was sick to be able to play and I played all the way through it. Just being able to play the game that I loved is what got me through it.”
Smeltzer was drafted in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball draft by San Diego but he decided to go to college and picked FGCU over top programs like Vanderbilt and South Carolina. FGCU head coach Dave Tollett says Smeltzer is one of the best recruits the program has ever signed.
The Eagles start a four game season-opening series at home against Central Michigan on February 13.