News and Tribune

April 16, 2013

H.S. BASEBALL: Jeff’s Crafton to have Tommy John surgery today or Wednesday

Red Devil catcher out for season with torn ligament in elbow

By KEVIN HARRIS
kevin.harris@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville High School baseball coach Derek Ellis said Monday that Red Devil senior catcher Isaac Crafton will have Tommy John surgery on his elbow either today or Wednesday.

The torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow has ended his season.

Crafton played with the ligament tear during the first three games of the 2013 campaign, but the pain in his elbow was too much to bear, and he has not played since Jeff’s 6-5 loss at Floyd Central on April 3.

Last season, Crafton hit a school-record .575 batting average with six home runs and 24 RBIs.

“Anytime you lose .575, it’s a big hole to fill. You don’t replace that,” said Ellis, who believes that Crafton’s rehabilitation will be in the range of eight to 12 months.

Despite one of their best hitters being out of the starting lineup, the Red Devils have done all right in Crafton’s absence. Jeff (5-3) is 3-2 with Crafton out of the lineup.

Ellis has moved every batter up one spot in the lineup, as Crafton was Jeff’s No. 2 hitter this season. Sophomore Casey Gibson has replaced Crafton behind the plate.

“Actually, we haven’t done too bad,” Ellis said about the Red Devils’ play since Crafton’s season ended. “Casey Gibson has been behind the plate and he is hitting .500 right now. All of our players are heartbroken for Isaac, but they know they’ve got to move on.”

Ellis said not only does the Red Devils miss Crafton’s bat, but they miss how he handles Jeff’s pitchers as their catcher.

“We lose his expertise behind the plate. He can call [pitches] himself,” Ellis said.

Last season, Crafton was named the News and Tribune Area Player of the Year and an honorable-mention selection on the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 4A All-State team.

Crafton has signed a national letter of intent to play NCAA Division I baseball next season at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

The Red Devils are scheduled to host archrival New Albany at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Don Poole Field.