Madisyn Goerlitz and Kylie Valency
While preparing for the 2017 varsity baseball season, a run to first base became his last when, senior Christopher Saiki tore his ACL, putting a halt to his passion for baseball.
After starting baseball in eighth grade, Saiki fell in love with the aspect of being able to experience all the joy and sadness that comes with playing on a team.
“In the moment, just anything that can happen, it’s so exciting and you get engulfed in everything that’s happening,” Saiki expressed.
That excitement for baseball has lasted ever since, and from that point, Saiki has worked to earn his spot on the Varsity baseball team at Sage Creek. Unfortunately for him, his season ended before it even started.
“I came out here right around first [base], and I was at the plate. I gotta hit up the middle, so I was on first and I was super happy. Then I was getting my lead and the pitcher threw over, and when he did I turned to dive back and I just felt my knee kind of buckle,” Saiki explained.
After waiting it out for a couple weeks, he went to the doctor after his knee didn’t improve. It was then that he found out that he had tore his ACL and would need reconstructive surgery.
“I have been trying to work and get more strength and flexibility into it,” Saiki explained about his post-surgery recovery, “It has definitely been hard because I use to be able to do a lot of things without thinking and I can’t now.”
Shortly after his surgery Saiki was able to start physical therapy at PEAK. It is now seven weeks post-op and four weeks since physical therapy has started.
“It was a little tough at first. I wasn’t able to do much, but I was able to get out of the house and that was something big for me,” Saiki added, “Now I am without the brace so I am able to do some squats, medicine ball, moving laterally, and some box jumps. So it has been getting progressively better, I feel a lot better getting to go to physical therapy and doing stuff.”
Throughout his recovery Saiki has had the support from his close friend, Leo Ryan.
“He is always happy and has your back. He is very optimistic and when I am sad, all I am trying to do is say ‘where’s Saiki, I got to find Saiki.’ I got to find some optimism in my life,” Ryan expressed.
Saiki’s friends aren’t the only ones who notice his kindness. English teacher Shannon Alberts does as well.
“He lights up the room with his smile and his heart,” Alberts gushed, “Something I will always remember about Chris is that he is genuine, and that filters through to every part of his life. He is going to be sweet and kind and put that best foot forward.”
Now Saiki is on the road to recovery and is still a huge part of the baseball team at Sage.
“I have been part of this team for three years and they have just been my family, so I am definitely going to stick with them,” Saiki noted. “Maybe not practice with them obviously, but still go to games and come to practices and just be a part of the team.”
Saiki feels that being on the baseball team has been an amazing part of high school. He encourages others to join a team and find that same family he has.
“I think Sage Creek has really given us a nice opportunity to [get involved in a sport]. With [Sage] being a new school and having such amazing opportunities,” Saiki enthused, “ If you like the game, the sport and have a passion for it, go jump right in. That’s what I did, I just started playing and I was like ‘oh, wow I love it’.”
Saiki “wants people to remember [him as] being a happy person, and making people smile, and having a smile on [his] own face,” chuckled Saiki. “Being good in school and doing the right thing.”