EUGENE, OR - Darrell Hunter was the first recruit to commit to the reinstated Oregon baseball program in 2009.
As a star at Thurston High School, Hunter helped lead the Colts to the 2008 state championship game, earning All-State honors along the way. But after his freshman season at Oregon where he played as a part-time first baseman, Hunter's collegiate career took a dramatic turn.
Hunter was fielding ground ball during fall practice in 2009 when one ball took a bad hop and struck him the head. Three months later, Hunter suffered a seizure and he was forced to redshirt in 2010.
"It's a struggle, but I don't think I'd be who I am and where I'm at if I hadn't gone through all that," said Hunter.
Seizure free for over a year now, Hunter is back on the team in 2013 as a relief pitcher. However, he had to spend a season playing at Lane Community College and one more season away from baseball to get healthy.
"I decided to give it one more shot," said Hunter. "Hopefully coach would have me back and lucky enough he did. Seems like every so often things slowly started getting better and progressing, got healthier. I got back in shape and pitching just started coming together for me.
"Every opportunity that he's had to help this team so far this year to win, he's been right on the money," said head coach George Horton.
Convincing coach Horton to allow him back on the team wasn't easy for Hunter."
"I was a little reluctant to give him an opportunity because there was a time when he hit the deck at practice when we were doing some conditioning that we worried about his life," said Horton.
It's not his first shot with the Ducks, but Hunter is committed to taking full advantage of this one.