Ben Ancheff can go after any batter he’d like and feel confident they won’t charge the mound. The reliever for the St. Thomas University Bobcats is 300 pounds of fastball fury. He’s the Jared Lorenzen of college baseball.
His Bobcats lost to Lewis-Clark State in the NAIA baseball national championship. He pitched 4.1 innings, fanned five, and allowed one run and two hits. After that performance, he became an Internet sensation — though he’d already achieved mythological status. According to his Facebook fan page, he’s got a litany of nicknames, which include My Benny, Benny the Bull, The Best, Ace BenChura, Miracle Baby, The Triple Threat Heavy Weight Hammer, and The Chosen One.
There’s a story there. Despite weighing 8 1/2 pounds at birth, Ancheff was a born prematurely, and had underdeveloped heart and lungs, according to The Patriot-News’ Michael Bullock. The doctors used an experimental procedure called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
They connected Ancheff to a “heart-lung machine that pumped oxygen into his blood and cleared carbon dioxide until his pulmonary organs were strong enough to handle those functions,” Bullock explains.
“I was a test,” Ancheff told The Patriot-News in August 2010. “Basically, they told my mom and dad that I’d be dead in a matter of minutes if we don’t try this. They said to try anything to save him. It worked out.
“I’m very fortunate for the doctors over at Hershey Medical Center who saved me. I could never thank them enough for how successful I am. I’ve never had any complications. I’m just lucky. My heart rate’s perfect, like 52, and that’s actually slow. A big guy usually has a higher heart rate.
“I’m just lucky.”
SOURCE: Henry McKenna