Pitcher with Cerebral Palsy Excels at American Legion World Seri - New York News

Pitcher with Cerebral Palsy Excels at American Legion World Series

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Shelby, NC - The physical differences between Jessie Prather and his teammates are subtle. He's gotten so good at playing baseball with his physical limitations, that you can only see what sets him apart if you're paying close attention.

"Some people don't even notice it when he's playing. And then they look at it and it takes them a minute. They have to look at it twice and they're like 'Oh wait, he's not using his right arm!" says Jessie's coach Eric Owen.

Prather doesn't just play baseball without using his right arm. He excels at it.

"I was born with Cerebral Palsy...which...my right side is weaker than my left side. Therefore, I have to catch with my left hand, take off my glove, hold it, pitch, and put it back on," says Jessie.

His teammate and former opponent, Leel Williams says he'd rather be on Prather's team, than playing against him.

"He's the hardest pitcher I've ever faced. He struck me out probably about 12 times out of 13. He's good. He's very good," says Williams.

Now leading his Jacksonville Post 88 team on the field comes easy to the Florida pitcher. However, it wasn't always that way.

"When I was younger... I thought 'I can't stick up with these guys, why do I try?' But then I talked to my friends and they kept me... doing it and now I'm here... made it to a big stage," Prather says. "It's an amazing feeling. It's hard to even say what it feels like. From being a little kid, playing in little league and now going to the World Series in front of thousands of fans. It's just....amazing!"

At age 19, this will be Prather's last year in the American Legion League. He says it will be emotional to leave his coaches and teammates, but he has big plans for his baseball future.

"Go to college and start off there, and hopefully succeed enough to go to double A, single A," Prather says. He also said he would love to coach and share his love for the game of baseball.

When asked if he thinks those goals are within reach Prather said "Anything's possible. That's the way I look at life so I think there's a chance."

For the full tournament schedule - including when you can watch Prather play - and details on other events this weekend, visit the American Legion World Series website.

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