By Logan Smith

(CBS4) – Lefty is back.

Christopher Valerio, the 12-year-old Salty Dawgs baseball player who required 500 stitches after a collision with an outfield fence in March, played this weekend in his first game back from the injury.

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The Fort Collins left-hander took the ball to the mound and pitched an inning Saturday morning, striking out two batters and not allowing a hit.

(credit: Geoff Paquet)

Sunday morning, he punched a home run over left field.

(credit: Geoff Paquet)

“Great to see him back doing what he loves!!” wrote his father, Josh, after the tournament. “It was pretty nerve racking for mom and dad though!!”

Mom and Dad – otherwise known as Josh and Afton Valerio – were also in the stands in Kansas City eight weeks ago when Chris chased after a foul ball, lost his footing as he dove, and collided forehead-first into chain-link fencing.

Though the skin tear was extensive, the injury was largely superficial.

(credit: Valerio family)

His father, a firefighter, said it was the worst wound he has seen on someone who did not also suffer a neck or brain injury.

“It was traumatic” to witness, his father told CBS4 earlier this month.

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The incident impacted the players, the coaches, even the opposing teams. A team from Massachusetts called the Cape Cod Clippers presented gifts to Chris Sunday – a signed jersey, cap, and baseball – after hearing his story.

(credit: Salty Dawgs Baseball Club/Facebook)

Chris may undergo cosmetic procedures in the future. If his recent examination at Children’s Hospital is any indication, he’ll be fine.

Josh described how a nurse asked Chris several general questions about his health, including any pain, allergies, trouble sleeping.

And whether he smoked.

Chris enthusiastically answered yes….to his parent’s amazement.

“I said, ‘What???'” Josh recalled.

Chris replied, “I smoke baseballs, Dad!”

 

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Logan Smith