Radnor High School's Andrew Austen inspires on the mound

RADNOR, Pa. (WPVI) -- The Radnor High School baseball team got off to a not so great start this season at 0-5.

To make matters worse, one of their best pitchers got hurt.

However, that's when things turned around.

Outfielder Andrew Austen saved the season. He volunteered to pitch and led Radnor to the playoffs.

When you watch Andrew on the mound, you notice his smooth delivery. At the plate, you notice his sweet swing.

It probably takes a second to notice the one aspect of his game that is missing: his right arm.

"When I was born, the doctors told my parents, 'If you don't have a problem with it, he won't either.' So they never treated me any differently than anyone else," Andrew said.

Andrew has excelled at every sport he's tried, be it basketball or water-skiing, but baseball was always his first love. And he's adapted to his challenges.

"Doing it my whole life, you find things that work and don't work and you perfect the things that do work," Andrew said.

Things like his delivery which is quite complicated, but he makes it look so seamless.

"I start with my glove off. I kind of have it up against my body and when I throw the pitch, my follow through, I put my hand right back into it and stick it up so I could field, obviously," Andrew said.

At the plate, Andrew uses a carbon fiber prosthetic to serve as his bottom hand. He may not have the power of his peers, but he's still batting .333 with 15 stolen bases, defying everyone's expectations along the way.

"We have people in the stands and the other team watching him pitch and they say, 'He should bunt against this kid. He can't field it. He has one arm, one glove tucked in.' In reality, he's our best fielder, he's our best player, and pretty much, our best kid," Radnor Head Coach Mark Jordan said.

While his situation is unique, Andrew does have quite a role model in former Major League pitcher Jim Abbott, born without a right hand, who went on to throw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees.

But even at just 17 years old, Andrew's words and his game make him quite the role model, as well.

"Just because you look different or think different or act different doesn't mean you are different. You just got to be you and do what you love. My love is sports. It doesn't even have to be sports. Just be comfortable in your own skin and everything else will fall into place," Andrew said.
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