North Greenville’s John Michael Faile makes incredible return

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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TIGERVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A season ending injury that really wasn’t and a North Greenville baseball player showing he can still help the Crusaders win.

In the stat column, it’s just another home run.

“When it happened, you’re still shocked cause you didn’t really think it would happen, but at the same time, why would we be shocked?” Landon Powell, NGU baseball coach, said. “He’s done it so many other times.”

But the box score doesn’t show how close this moment came to not happening.

“Everything in my mind is just racing,” John Michael Faile, North Greenville catcher, said. “I’m thinking of absolutely worst case scenarios. You know, I’m done for this year.”

Last month, the Crusaders were playing in the Conference Tournament. After rounding first, John Michael Faile felt a pop in his knee.

“I put my hand on my first base coach and I say, look, I’m done. I can’t walk,” Faile said. “I can’t move. And so they like carry me off the field.”

“That was a low moment,” Powell said. “Our conference player of the year, two-time All-American, backbone of our team.”

Doctors say the All-American tore his meniscus and partially tore his ACL. At the time, the Crusader thought his season was over.

“It was sickening,” Faile said. “I don’t even know how to put it. It was just, you know, heartbreaking.”

John Michael underwent surgery. It brought some unexpected good news.

“When I went into surgery, I thought that I was having a repair for my meniscus done,” Faile said. “I was prepared for four months, five months of rehab. And when I woke up, they told me: ‘Hey, you had a meniscectomy. We just removed the meniscus.’

“And so as soon as they told me that, I’m like, alright,” Faile said. “This is a six week process. Who’s to say we can’t come back in three.”

He threw away the crutches and immediately started rehab. His goal: to return for the World Series. Faile returned to the line up exactly a month after his injury.

“I would say I was definitely nervous.” Faile said.

When his turn at the plate came, it was like he never left. The catcher blasted a solo home run to help lead the Crusaders to a 3-1 win over West Chester.

“As I was rounding third base and I just see all my teammates, coaches and everybody that are just there jumping up and down screaming, supporting me,” Faile said. “It was just a crazy, kind of storybook script. It was unbelievable.”