Ty Randall returns to Laingsburg lineup after Tommy John surgery

LAINGSBURG, Mich. (WLNS) – Ten months ago, an injury in the last game of the baseball season led to a summer of uncertainty for Ty Randall and his family.

But these days, Randall takes the field at Laingsburg with a smile on his face and college plans in place.

Randall, a standout tri-sport athlete for the Wolfpack, was hurt while pitching in Laingsburg’s regional semifinal loss to Chesaning on June 7, 2023. At the time, he and his family didn’t think much of it. The loss had ended the Wolfpack’s season, and they assumed with time and rest Randall’s arm would heal. Within a week, the pain was gone.

But the pain returned the next time Randall tried to throw in the offseason, and it was sharp. His family took him in to get it checked out and the doctors informed them Randall’s UCL had detached from his elbow. It wasn’t fully torn, but the injury would still require Tommy John surgery.

“When you hear Tommy John, you think career-ending,” said Todd Randall, Ty’s dad who is also Laingsburg’s varsity baseball coach. “And here’s a junior in high school going into his senior year and we’re thinking his future in collegiate sports potentially could be over.”

The uncertainty of it all was scary, and Ty Randall said colleges he had been hearing from suddenly stopped reaching out. The gravity of the situation was tough to look past, but he began to attack the rehab necessary to return.

“He just became a different kid,” said Todd Randall. “Honestly he grew into a man. Mentally, his game became so much stronger. Physically, he became stronger. It kind of regrouped him in a sense, not that we would ever want an injury, but it did regroup him in that it brought him back to getting after it.”

Ty Randall had to miss his senior football season and the beginning of the basketball season.

“Sitting out all of football season in a chair watching practices go by, I just, I couldn’t do it,” Ty Randall said. “Then basketball I luckily was able to play so I kind of took that every day, I was just going to have fun with it and be out there with my friends.”

He returned to the court at the start of the new year, helping the Wolfpack basketball team finish off an undefeated regular season and make a run to the regional championship game.

“He’s done a phenomenal job [rehabbing],” said Todd Randall. “His mental game is next level. I’m beyond proud. I can’t even, there’s so many words I could use but I can’t think of them right now. Just proud, very proud.”

Now, the sounds of baseball season have returned to Laingsburg. The pop of the mitt and the ping of the metal bat sound a little bit sweeter this spring to Ty Randall.

Ten months ago, he wasn’t sure he’d be cleared to play in 2024. But his recovery has progressed to the point where he is able to play the infield, and the hope is he can slowly return to the mound in May.

“We’ve really worked hard at it,” he said. “I’ve gotten a 13-14 month recovery down to 10 months and so I mean, we’ve gone at it every day.”.

“He’s not going to take anything for granted and he’s been putting in so much work in the offseason and even now,” added senior catcher Jackson Audretsch. “He’s such a great shortstop so even just having him there and him still being able to play, even if we have to move him to first, I mean he’s great anywhere.”

As for Ty Randall’s dreams of playing college baseball, they are coming true after all. He recently signed to play at Grand Valley State University.

While some schools stopped recruiting him after the injury, Randall said Grand Valley State actually didn’t start recruiting him until after the surgery.

“[GVSU] trusting in me and believing in me that I can get back, I took that to heart,” he said. “That’s kind of why I chose them.”

“It was a great feeling that he was still wanted,” said Todd Randall. “When the injury happened, he thought — and there were plenty of other schools looking at him — and he thought that those doors were closed for good. Then when Grand Valley just continued to keep the communication lines open it just, it was a boost of confidence for him for sure.”

“I look at it as like, I made it,” Ty Randall said while reflecting on the last 10 months. “I beat the surgery. I came back. I kind of thought I wouldn’t be able to play baseball at the start of it since it’s a long recovery road. So I’m just happy.”

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