OMAHA - Coaches like to talk about sports teaching their athletes life lessons. At Vanderbilt, it's the student managers teaching that topic."
"It would be tough to ever complain about anything you would have physically with Josh in our locker room, in our classroom, in our environment."
"It's been a blessing having those two guys around our program," said Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt Pitcher. "They do so much that goes unseen. So, for them to be here is just as special as us. "
"Special" is a good word for it, because it takes someone "special" to stare down a streptococci infection that cost him all four limbs and nearly his life.
It takes someone like Josh Ruchotzke.
"We just wanted him in our culture, because of who he was, what he stood for, and his spirit."
Ruchotzke didn't flinch. He turned his tradegdy into resolve and the adversity-hardened teenager kept chasing his dream.
He helped lead his high school team to the playoffs, and then turned his eyes to his next step.
"I still wanted to be a part a college team even though i wasn't going to be playing," said Josh Ruchotzke.
"In his 10th grade year when he first wrote me the note we recruited him," said Tim Corbin. "We recruited him as if he were Tyler Beede. "
"Basically, I told my story and the accomplishments I had and why I wanted to be part of this program, said Josh Ruchotzke. "How i could help them. Fortunately he gave me the opportunity and here i am today."
Ruchotzke didn't give up and neither did fellow student manager Mike Portu.
"Right when I was born the valve that took blood from my heart to my lungs wouldn't open," said Mike Portu, Student Manager. "So I had a couple surgeries right after i was born in the first month to open that. It took a couple tries but eventually they got it open.
A mosaic of heartbreak has forged hearts that can't be broken, wills that can't be bent, and no goal that can't be reached.
"It's something that I always dreamed of, so to be here today it means a lot," said Ruchotzke.
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