Royston overcame injuries to reach career long dream
Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2022
By Hunter Cloud
Special to The Elizabethton Star
HAMPTON — Caleb Royston’s dream of playing college baseball came true last Thursday as he signed with King University in Bristol.
Royston started playing baseball at the age of four, and it was his main sport throughout childhood. His path to playing college baseball almost met an end in 2020 during his junior year. It was the night of his first football game on Aug. 29 when a vehicle crossed the center lane as he drove over a bridge and struck him head on.
He couldn’t walk away from the wreck, as he broke his tibia and fibula. For three months he was in a wheelchair and for another three months he was on crutches. Royston said he was bound and determined to make a full recovery for his junior season of baseball. Doctors had told him his injuries would require a year of recovery.
“The hardest part was I had to retrain myself how to walk. My main goal was to not miss baseball,” Royston said. “I could only pitch and play third base, and I had to have a pinch runner because I had a metal rod in my leg. They had told me the recovery time was a year, but I cut in half by working out and going to physical therapy every day. Being able to be on the field with my friends is what I had looked forward to the most.”
He made a full recovery and went on to play football his senior year. Hampton reached the state championship game in football and basketball. Although he did not play basketball his friends did, and the Bulldogs reached sub-state in baseball this year.
It was one of the best athletic classes in Hampton’s history, he said. His leg held up during the course of the athletic seasons. On stormy days he could feel pain, but it could not have been worse than the previous year, he said.
According to MaxPreps, Royston hit .368 with 32 RBIs and 39 hits. He struck out 57 batters in 41.2 innings pitched. Hampton finished with a record of 24-13 and was 3-3 in District 1A-1.
“My senior year was amazing. We started off strong and had a pretty good year. We beat the record for wins at the school,” Royston said. “It felt amazing being able to be in one of the best athletic classes in school history. It meant a lot to me.”
Now, he is getting ready to take the next step at King University which is close to home. One of his coaches had played and pitched at King. It was a good match, he said.
His plans are to study business management to be able to handle sales and one day take over the construction business with his father Travis Royston.
Summer workout plans have been put together by his coaches at King so he is busy preparing for fall camp. Additionally, he spends about eight hours a day working in construction. He said he does find some time to relax in the evenings.
“I have gone fishing with my buddies every night since we graduated,” Royston said. “We are fishing for anything that bites. I haven’t had too much luck so far.”