Originally created 06/19/03

Foot injury fails to derail boy's dreams



Michael Holley dreams of taking the mound for the South Augusta Sidewinders and leading his team to a USSSA Youth Baseball national championship in July.

The 11-year-old Augusta boy's dreams don't end there. Michael also sees himself in an Atlanta Braves uniform one day, just like his hero Greg Maddux, pitching Game 7 of the World Series at Turner Field.

In September, Michael's dreams were nearly shattered.

"I was cutting grass out in the yard with my daddy, and I was moving a trash can," Michael said. "My father drove by on the lawn mower and didn't see me there. He ran over my foot and cut off my toe."

With his right foot mangled, Michael screamed at the top of his lungs. Not because of the pain, but because he feared he'd never play baseball again.

"I thought I wasn't going to walk again," Michael said. "I was just yelling, 'I want to play pro ball!"'

Michael lost the big toe on his right foot, and faced the possibility of never playing baseball again.

"I was wearing Timberland boots, and they told me if I was wearing tennis shoes, I probably would have lost my whole foot," he said.

Somehow, the dreams of this rising sixth grader at Spirit Creek Middle School are alive and well.

After three days in the hospital, more than two months in a cast and several months of self rehab, Michael can walk again.

Not to mention strike out hitters with 70 mph fastballs.

"My mom was the won who pushed me to try to get me to start walking again," Michael said of his mother, Tammy. "I just started to try and walk on my own. I didn't have any therapy. I did it on my own with the help of my momma and daddy and my family and friends."

"It was pretty scary at first," Tammy said. "I didn't think he'd be back on the field, but he's come back and done real well. I pushed him kind of hard. He actually hated me for a little while."

With Michael on the mound, the Sidewinders are headed to Dublin, Ga., this weekend to compete in a USSSA state tournament.

It's a tuneup for July's World Series in Gulfport, Miss. The Sidewinders qualified for the series in a tournament in May.

Michael also has been selected to play for the Masters City Little League All-Star Team that begins its quest for Williamsport, Pa., and the Little League World Series in a tournament July 5 at Kelley Park in Martinez.

Michael and his mother credit Sidewinders coach Ellis McCain for playing a key role in the boy's comeback.

"Michael had to learn how to re-balance on the foot, and Coach Ellis worked so hard with him and pushed him," Tammy said. "He was always there to work with him and give him a pat on the back and tell him he could do it."

The Sidewinders are hoping to raise enough money from corporate and private sponsors over the next month to help make their trip to Gulfport possible.

For more information on how you can help support the team, contact Tammy Holley at 706-306-1818.

ROWING INTO TOWN: More than 23 teams from more than 10 states will converge on Langley Pond this weekend for the United States Rowing Association Southeastern Regional Regatta. The two-day event begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Augusta Rowing Club will have several boats entered.

WOMEN's HOCKEY: A couple of local hockey players and youth league coaches are hoping to recruit women to learn to play the game.

Betsy Olive and Carson McGovern are organizing a "women's only" ice session each week for beginners to learn fundamentals and compete in pickup games.

For more information, contact Olive at 706-787-3341 or John Crerar of the Augusta Ice Sports Center at 706-863-0061.