Getting a shot at the Major Leagues is many young boys' dream, but being able to make a commitment and fight through the struggles that the journey entails often times goes unseen. RiverDogs pitcher David Sosebee has endured plenty of bumps in the road along the way, but thanks to hard work and determination that long time dream is closer than its ever been.
Sosebee grew up in Cleveland, Ga. and played ball at White County High School. His senior year he went 10-1 with an impressive 0.61 ERA while also clubbing 10 home runs. Despite his love for the bat he always knew his future would be in pitching. "As a pitcher in high school, everyone likes to think they can hit. I was able to squeak a few over the fence, but once I got to college and everyone's throwing low 90s and mid-90s, I think that was it for me. I don't like getting hit too much so I called it quits then and stuck to the mound." said Soesbee.
At just 18 years old, Sosebee got one of the rarest opportunities of his life. He was initially selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 48th round of the 2011 draft and got flown to Fenway Park with the other draft picks to play a scrimmage game against each other and check out the city. "I wish I could go back and stay in the moment more. Its not every day you get that opportunity and its something I will remember for the rest of my life," said Sosebee of the opportunity to play at historic Fenway.
After deciding to develop more and not take the Red Sox up on their offer, Sosebee had numerous opportunities from some top schools such as Clemson and Kennesaw State but ultimately decided to stick closer to home and become a Georgia Bulldog. "Once the offer from Georgia came through, it was kind of a no-brainer. I had a bunch of my friends going there, guys that I had played with in travel ball, and even one of my high school teammates so it was an easy choice for me."
Sosebee learned quickly college was ball was quite different than high school. In his freshman year at Georgia he went 2-1 with a 5.82 ERA, but did not see any SEC action. Following that season, the thoughts of quitting the game ran through out his mind and became a major obstacle towards his dream. "I had to step away for a while and kind of realize what direction my life was about to go in. I'd put in so much work leading up to that and I rededicated my self and tried to get back to where I knew I could be."
At one point through out that decision, Sosebee had thoughts of joining the golf team. "I been playing golf for a while, I got to hang around with some of the guys on the golf team so I thought going to the golf course and practicing every day would be a little different than going to a baseball field every day. I think ultimately that would have been a bad decision so I'm glad I did what I did."
In his redshirt sophomore season, Sosebee had a bounce back year. He saw most action out of the bullpen going 1-4 with a 3.12 ERA. Towards the end of the season he worked his way into the starting rotation. Five of his 17 appearances that year came as the Bulldog's starter. "I dedicated myself to the weight room a little more and cleaned up my diet. We actually got a new coaching staff that next year so that gave me a fresh start. They didn't really know who was who so I felt like I had a chance to make an impact with a team. Our pitching coach was Coach Carrall, and I owe him a ton of my success. He helped me turn things around and get in the right direction."
Sosebee faced one of the scariest situations in his entire career in his junior season. While pitching in a game at Georgia Southern Sosebee felt his legs give out from under him after throwing a pitch. He initially thought nothing of it and got out of the inning but felt weird. While in the dugout he tried to do a squat, and fell backwards. After taking a week off, he decided to throw again but realized something wasn't right. MRI's and CAT scans throughout his entire body reviled that there was a calcified arthritis in his spinal cavity which was pushing up against the spinal cord and caused his legs to almost become disabled.
"It was probably the worst four or five moths of my life. It took at least three weeks to diagnose the problem. I tried to go back and make another start but I couldn't do it. Once we found out it still wasn't good news that I was going to have surgery on my spine and its like what are the chances of me coming back. The doctor said it shouldn't be an issue and I had to trust that what he said was going to work." Following a quick recovery, Sosebee returned to the hill just 22 days later to pitch against Clemson.
In 2015 Sosebee was selected in the 28th round by the Yankees and spent his first season in Pulaski (ROK). He became a RiverDog in 2016 after getting called up from Staten Island. He appeared in eight games for Charleston, all out of the bullpen. Sosebee has made his second season as a RiverDog quite noticeable as he has collected the most strikeouts amongst Charleston relievers with 35.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.