Mississippi State's Luis Pollorena beat cancer at age 8.
The undersized kid from a Texas border town survived one long year at a tough military academy and advanced to a Division I baseball program, which few thought he could. The Rangers drafted the left-hander in the 23rd round earlier this month.
If anyone deserved to be part of a classic College World Series tale of triumph, it was the senior.
But one morning in Omaha last week, Pollorena woke up with a sore arm. Must have slept on it awkwardly, he said.
And when he made his CWS debut, starting in Tuesday's 8-0 loss to UCLA, nothing went the way he would have liked.
Pollorena, though, couldn't bring himself to complain. Two weeks ago, he was looking out on TD Ameritrade Park from his hotel window, wondering if this was real.
A sour ending couldn't spoil it.
“I was just glad I got to pitch on that mound. You've got to soak in the moment,” he said. “I thank God for the ability to play baseball, to play with these guys.”
He threw 12 pitches. The fourth one hit the leadoff batter. The sixth one was bunted back to him, but Pollorena couldn't pick up the baseball cleanly and his throw glanced off the glove of first baseman Wes Rea.
He gave up a scorched line drive to right field, scoring a run. After a fielder's choice, Pat Gallagher ripped a single to right, but outfielder Hunter Renfroe threw out Pat Valaika trying to advance to third.