It's been a good year for hefty hurlers.
Most notably, 265-pound Bartolo Colón is off to a solid start to the MLB season, with an 8-3 record for the surprising New York Mets. Colón even made headlines this past weekend after hitting an RBI double.
Meanwhile, a lesser-known but larger pitcher became a viral sensation after starting in the NAIA World Series.
Ben Ancheff of St. Thomas (Florida) took the mound for his team in a game against Lewis-Clark State. At 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, Ancheff immediately became somewhat of an Internet hero:
— DC (@DCmusicnation) May 30, 2015
— David Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) May 30, 2015
— Zachary Simonar (@mrsim21) May 30, 2015
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 30, 2015
Ancheff pitched well for St. Thomas, going 4.1 innings while striking out five and only allowing one run. But Lewis-Clark came back from down four runs and ended up winning, 10-7.
Ancheff started his career at Georgia before transferring to the State College of Florida. Last season he was back in the Division I ranks at University of Central Arkansas and he's ending his career at St. Thomas. But this journey is hardly the most remarkable part of his life story. Ancheff was born prematurely with an underdeveloped heart and lungs. He told Michael Bullock of the Patriot News that doctors had to test out an experimental procedure called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation just to keep him alive. A machine pumped oxygen into Ancheff's blood and removed carbon dioxide cells because his body couldn't do the task by itself.
"I was a test," Ancheff said. "Basically, they told my mom and dad that I'd be dead in a matter of minutes if we don't try this. They said to try anything to save him. It worked out."
Ancheff's resting heart rate now is about 52, akin to some marathon runners. And even though he's heavier than New York Yankees star CC Sabathia, Ancheff is still a gifted athlete. He was an all-state defensive lineman in high school football and a state qualifier in wrestling.
Ben Ancheff starts in the NAIA World Series. Bartolo Colon gets RBI double in 8th win of season before June 1. #EveryCarbHadItsDay
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) June 1, 2015