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Battling back: St. Joseph pitcher shines in face of illness

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Brandyn Seals finished his senior baseball season at St. Joseph High School this year, but for him, the battle isn't nearly over. Five years ago, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and pancreatitis.

"Cystic fibrosis is found in your lungs," Seals said. "Mucus fills your lungs and most people do breathing treatments, but mine is found in my pancreas. That's why I have pancreatitis. It's just excruciating pain."

Seals attempts to live the regular life of a high school athlete, but often times, his symptoms land him in the hospital. However, he always bounces back and is ready to play for the Flyers. 

"When he comes back from the hospital, you would never know he had been in the hospital," said Mike Shimek, Flyers head baseball coach. "Maybe he's a few pounds lighter and lacking a little energy, but he's bright-eyed and knows how to live life."

Seals' outlook is that he has no other choice than to live life to the fullest.

"Baseball is what I love and I'm not going to let what I've been diagnosed with, technically a disease, hold me back from anything," he said. 

A couple days before St. Joseph's final district game, Seals began to feel his health taking a turn for the worst. He decided to ask his coach to let him pitch.

"I didn't know if this was going to be my last game or not," Seals said. "I had a feeling it was, so I said that I wanted to pitch because it was a home game. Luckily he let me pitch because after that, I was in the hospital for the rest of the season."

After spending eight days in the hospital, he had to miss the Flyers' final two games of the season.  

"While he was in the hospital," Shimek said, "he texted me and said that the hardest thing he's ever had to do is not finish out the season with his teammates, while he was in pain in the hospital. It was something to admire, that's for sure." 

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