JACKSON TWP — Thursday afternoon was a long time coming for Seneca Valley's Sam Fragale.
The senior finally found his name on the lineup card.
Fragale, a Virginia Tech recruit, suffered a high-ankle sprain six weeks ago and made his season debut batting third as the designated hitter during SV's dramatic 3-2 win over North Allegheny at Raider Field.
“I've been missing it so much,” said Fragale. “This six weeks was one of the hardest things for me.”
The opponent and finish made his return a little more memorable.
He was standing in the on-deck circle when Brad Gresock hit a 3-2 pitch over the left-field fence for a game-winning home run.
“This is one of the biggest rivalries. That meant everything to me,” said Fragale. “It was the best game, too, especially Brad with that walk-off.”
Seneca Valley coach Eric Semega wasn't coy when describing what Fragale brings to the batting order.
“A lot,” he said.
“He definitely provides us with a lot more power in the middle of the lineup and consistency,” Semega elaborated.
It was a lengthy road back for Fragale, whose ankle was still in a brace when the Raiders opened the season.
“It was pretty swollen. They said it was one of the worst sprained ankles they've seen at PT (physical therapy),” Fragale said. “It was a lot of manual work for a while. About two weeks ago, I just started doing running and stuff.
“It's been a long haul.”
Fragale — who hopes to start playing defense this week — was 1-for-2 with a walk in his debut. His first hit was a single up the middle in the third inning.
“That felt good,” said Fragale. “It's kind of nice to get that one off my back — just let that one go and come back for more, hopefully.”