Cody Knoche of Stafford County started summer baseball with a shoulder injury. His Pratt Athletics team supported him through the tough times and he won an MVP pitching award at the end of the season.

Cody Knoche of Stafford County plays baseball with the Pratt Athletics (age 10 and under) summer league team. He is a multi-talented athlete, playing basketball, football and every sport he can apply himself to according to his mother, Crissy Mull Knoche. But he dreams, however, of someday playing baseball for the Kansas City Royals.

Following that dream became a painful endeavor this summer.

“Early in this baseball season, he started to pitch in a game,” Crissy Knoche said. “The coaches noticed that he wasn’t pitching as well as he normally does. So they took him out.

“The next day, I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right. I took him to the doctor’s office and an X-ray showed he had somehow fractured his shoulder.”

For Cody the sore shoulder didn’t hurt as much as not being able to play or do anything for the six weeks that followed.

“He never cried, complained or anything of that nature,” Crissy said. “He only said his shoulder was kind of sore. My husband

Troy Knoche, the doctors, and I were all confused as to how he fractured his shoulder and was not in extreme pain.”

Cody Knoche shares his love of baseball with team- mates and coaches who strive for improvement and success. It was the support of his team that helped him get through the tough times and into the game last week, where he earned an MVP of the game award as pitcher.

Coaches of the Pratt Athletics (Chad Vanslyke, Tony Helfrich, Eric Welch, Steve Rice, Mike Flora and Zach Rupe) promote an atmosphere in which none of the members of the team give any energy to ridiculing or discriminating any of the other teammates. Whether it be their team, or the opposing team.

Teamwork in this small group is the main goal even with each team member’s particular back- grounds, connections, physical characteristics, and daily agendas.

Each practice, every game, whatever it may be, they all face the same sun and consequences. All eyes focused on the ball. All players and coaches making an effort to build one another up. At the end of each practice and game they join hands in a team hand tower.

Pratt Athletics players James Welch (26), Luke Gatlin (8), Clay Freeman (43), Conner Vanslyke (00), Owen Flora (53), Adan Rice (10), Gavin Rupe (21), Kian Helfrich (4), Carlito Lara (2), Ryan Haas (6) and Knoche (31) played in the state tournament for their age bracket this weekend in Wichita.