An overwhelming flow of emotions swept over Lower Cape May Regional High School pitcher Josh Pennington on Monday.
Pennington and the Caper Tigers have spent the week in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as part of the Cal Ripken Experience.
The St. John's University recruit was warming up in the bullpen to pitch against a team from Elmira (N.Y.) when he felt a pop in his right elbow.
Pennington immediately went to his catcher, Dom Catanoso, and told him he blew out his elbow.
"I walked into the dugout and sat down, and I couldn't control my emotions," Pennington said on the phone Tuesday. "I felt like everything I worked for went out the window. It was hard for me.
"The worst-case scenarios were running through my head - what happens now with college and the draft and my baseball career in the future?"
Pennington had the elbow X-rayed at an area hospital, and the results came back negative. He will fly back to South Jersey today and have an MRI on Thursday at the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia.
Lower Cape May coach Mike Kuemmerle said he felt bad for Pennington because he put in so much hard work.
"It's a crushing blow," Kuemmerle said on the phone. "Our others guys have to step up. I don't know who it will be just yet.
"He's going to be around, though. He's a good influence on the younger guys with his presence. With him being around and supporting the team, our other guys will rise to the challenge."
Pennington has pitched in two games this season. He is 1-0 with 25 strikeouts in 12 innings, allowing just six hits and two runs, one earned.
Pennington, a 6-0 senior right-hander, is one of the top pitching recruits in South Jersey. He accepted a full athletic scholarship to St. John's University last May and has been scouted by Major League Baseball teams.
Pennington said there were scouts down in Myrtle Beach, including the national crosschecker scouts for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. They have more say in the scouting process when it comes to draft day.
"It was a disappointment because I didn't have the ability to show them what I had," Pennington said.
With a day to think about it, Pennington has had the ability to settle down and think about his future.
What helped him settle down was the endorsement he got from St. John's coach Ed Blankmeyer that the school would honor his scholarship. Pennington plans on getting a good education at St. John's and rehab at their facilities.
He said his elbow is sore to the touch and feels weak. He's just thankful it's not a shoulder injury, and he's optimistic regardless of the seriousness of the injury.
"If it happens to be serious, I'm just going to be really positive about it and not sit back and dwell on it," Pennington said. "I just have to get back out there and work harder and be stronger."
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