It happened more than a month ago in a Central League baseball game, but I didn't hear about it until recently.

And it's a great story.

An unusual story, too.

In fact, to the best of my knowledge it's never happened before in a Central League game. Or any game in any league I'm aware of.

And Mount Wolf right fielder Grant Myers, 18, gets all the credit.

Let me set the scene: On Tuesday, June 18, Mount Wolf was playing Shiloh on Shiloh's home field. Mount Wolf was playing defense in the third inning when, according to Wolves' manager, Tim Brenner, a Shiloh hitter lifted "a lazy fly ball to right-center field. The center fielder, Mark Burnside initially called for it. But then it drifted toward right field and Myers called for it."

Mount Wolf right fielder Grant Myers played for four innings in a June 18 game against Shiloh after breaking his right ankle in two places.
Mount Wolf right fielder Grant Myers played for four innings in a June 18 game against Shiloh after breaking his right ankle in two places. (Bill Kalina photo)

This part we've seen hundreds of times if we've watched enough baseball games -- it even happens in the Major Leagues -- the outfielders got their signals crossed and there was a collision. A huge collision.

"Burnside is a big guy," Brenner said. "He's 6-foot-7-inches tall and thick. Myers is nowhere near that big."

Myers is 5-10, 190 pounds.

So when the two crashed into each other, Myers went down like a ton of bricks. And he didn't move.

"I knew it was serious right away," Brenner said, "because Grant didn't move a muscle."

It was serious. Myers' ankle was broken in two places.

And here is where things got interesting. Mount Wolf only had nine players in uniform. One of them was Brenner, the manager, and he was already in the lineup at first base. No subs on the bench.

What to do? What to do?

If you've ever managed baseball, you know this scenario is a manager's worst nightmare. In county-league games, you're frequently worrying about having to forfeit for not having enough players. Most of the time, however, it doesn't come to that. And on those days when you only have nine players, you just keep your fingers crossed that no one gets hurt during the game.

I've been involved in baseball for almost 55 years, managed for 12 years, and I've never seen a game forfeited because of an injury.

But that's what Mount Wolf was facing.

It seemed like the only option, since they had to literally carry Myers off the field, was to forfeit the game to Shiloh.

But Myers would have none of that. After checking with Grant's father, Toby, who happened to be at the game, it was decided that Myers would continue to play to avoid the forfeit.

Only one problem. Myers couldn't put any weight on his right leg, foot or ankle. And he was in great pain.

Never mind the pain, Myers said. Just carry me out to right field. And that's what Mount Wolf did. For four innings.

"A couple of us just picked him up and carried him out to shallow right field, right behind the infield dirt. We sat him down on the grass, and that was where he stayed until we picked him up at the end of the inning and took him back to the dugout," Brenner said.

Again, four innings of that.

And in between, when it was his turn to hit -- he was batting seventh in the batting order -- they'd carry him up to home plate. Normally, Myers hits left-handed. But because he didn't want to risk getting hit by a pitched ball on his right ankle, he switched around and hit right-handed.

He did that twice, while standing on one foot so as not to put any weight on his right ankle. He would swing at three straight pitches, no matter where they were, to complete the at-bat, and then his teammates would carry him back to the bench.

Two at-bats after the injury, two strikeouts. Myers ended up going 0-for-4 in the game.

"It was an amazing thing to do," Brenner said, "because he was in awful pain the whole time. He was white as a ghost. Several times, I told him we could stop if he couldn't take it anymore. It was just a baseball game, after all. But he said he wanted to keep going."

One other thing almost as amazing, Brenner said, was that Shiloh did nothing to take advantage of the situation. They played it straight.

"Bubba (Krout, Shiloh's manager) could have done a bunch of things," Brenner said. "They could have tried hitting the ball to right field. They didn't. They could have walked Grant and forced him to run the bases. They didn't. They were really good sports about it."

In the end, Mount Wolf beat Shiloh, 4-3.

And Myers headed straight to the hospital.

Myers, who happens to be the grandson of Nevin Weirich, a Northeastern sports legend back in the early-1960s (soccer, baseball and basketball), will be a senior at Northeastern when he returns to school next month.

But he'll probably be doing it on crutches. And there will almost surely be no soccer season for him this year. He's just hoping he can join the swim team during the winter months.

"After the swelling went down after he broke it," Brenner said, "he had to have surgery. The ankle was broken in two places, and they had to put pins in there to help it heal correctly."

Myers said the doctors have told him the ankle should eventually be as good as new. But it sure has been a lousy way to spend his summer vacation.

For several weeks after the surgery, Myers was wheelchair bound, and now he faces at least six weeks of physical therapy.

It was a brave thing for Myers to have done. Lots of guys wouldn't have considered doing it for any reason.

It was one of those things in baseball that you might only see happen once in a lifetime.

Most managers will agree, once is plenty. More than enough, in fact.

And Myers is probably thinking the same thing.

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick