Two years after losing his leg in an accident, Winter Park's star pitcher returned to a standing ovation
Two years ago Nate Winters threw his first pitch as a varsity baseball player as a freshman. Monday night, he did it again, nearly two years after a devastating accident took his left leg.
It had been a long road back to the pitcher's mound after Winters had nearly died in a boating accident in August 2008. An abrupt turn caused him to fall from the boat where the propeller cut his legs so severely that he lost 80 percent of his blood, his left leg, a toe on his right foot and partially severed his right Achilles tendon.
But less than 20 months later, he came back from all of that, pitching for the first time in a junior varsity game against Dr. Phillips in March. That night, as he took to the mound, the opposing team gave him a standing ovation.
Then all eyes were on Nate.
"After my first pitch, I was pretty confident," Winters said. He would go on to throw two shutout innings against Dr. Phillips, only allowing one hit in his comeback performance.
Monday night, he was standing where he'd seen himself for two years — back on the pitcher's mound in a varsity uniform.
"It's an absolute miracle," his father, Dr. Tom Winters, said.
And in the ensuing 48 pitches from the Wildcats' comeback kid, a bit of his old magic came back to the Winter Park baseball diamond. In more than 4 innings as the starting pitcher against Colonial, he allowed only one run and one hit in the longest pitching performance he's given since 2008.
The Wildcats would eventually lose the game 4-3, but they'd already regained a pitcher.
"I guess miracles do happen," Winters said.