After making his season debut last Friday, Ozark left fielder Brock Sundlie has been welcomed back by opposing pitchers by being beaned four times.
He was hit by a pitch twice by Staley on Friday and twice more by Republic on Tuesday.
If there’s a Tiger who has a proven track record of being able to play with pain, it’s Sundlie. This past winter during wrestling season, he made his way to the Class 4 State Tournament, even while enduring symptoms that eventually led him to have hernia surgery.
He finished his junior year with a 23-11 record at 160 pounds after going 1-2 at State.
“It was definitely there,” Sundlie said of the abdominal pain that he dealt with for much of the wrestling season. “It was a little bit of pain, no excuse. I just couldn’t perform at State. I wish I would have performed better at the end. I’ll be back next year.”
Sundlie downplays the pain he endured, but his uncle, Ozark baseball coach Justin Sundlie, knows it was hard on him, not that the younger Sundlie would ever admit it.
“He won’t talk about it, I promise. It’s just not in him. He doesn’t want people to know,” Justin Sundlie said. “Every time I brought it up to him, he was like, ‘I’m good.’ He’s an extremely tough kid, no question about that.”
Brock missed Ozark’s first seven games, while recovering from his surgery.
“I eased my way into it. I’m 100 percent now,” he said. “It feels great to be back. I missed it a lot.”
Sundlie hasn’t minded taking one, two, three or even four for the team. He has been hit on ankle, knee, hand and back.
“The team needed it, so it was all right,” he said after Staley pitchers plunked him.
Sundlie, who delivered an RBI-double at Republic, adds to Ozark’s outfield depth.
“I’m excited he’s back because he’s going to give us more options,” Justin Sundlie said. “He’s a good player. Is he our left-fielder? I don’t know, yet. He loves to competent even when he’s not playing, he’s a great guy in the dugout.”