Dakota Peters works to return to baseball form with Fort Smith American Legion team

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

Dakota Peters is working to bounce back.

He's using his summer with the Fort Smith American Legion team to get in better baseball shape before going back to Connors College.

Peters missed the first 15 games of the college season as he recovered from offseason surgery to his left arm to remove some bone chips. He returned to the field on March 9 against Oklahoma Christian and played 18 games over a 23-game stretch. About a month later, Peters was sidelined again because of his non-throwing arm.

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"The bone chips kept me from really straightening out my arm, and I dealt with that for like six years," Peters said. "After I got it taken care of, I was playing again, and something in my left elbow popped. It turned out to be bone spurs, so I had another surgery to get those removed. 

"But I'm healthy now and ready to put that behind me and get to playing baseball again."

Peters finished his freshman year at Connors College (37-18) hitting .250 with two home runs, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

Through his first six games with the Fort Smith (3-3) squad, Peters is batting a .444 (8 of 18) with five RBIs and three runs scored. He said it was difficult for him to miss out on playing with his college teammates.

"This summer is about me getting back to my strength," Peters said. "I'm going to take it easy and rest as much as possible. Just do what I need to do and not overdo it."

He was part of the team that won the American Legion AAA title last season.

"Last summer was awesome and a relief because some of us were looking at not playing baseball again until August (2020)," Peters said. "I got the call from Coach Trey Prieur that we were going to be able to play, and it was all good from there. I could tell we were going to have a good year after we got started."

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When the summer ended, Peters headed to college, and for a while, it was a challenge to him.

"It was basically starting over for me. I only knew one or two guys, and once I started to get to know the others, I started to enjoy it more," Peters said. "The baseball aspect of college was kind of hard at first. In high school, we were limited to how much we could practice each day. At college ... it's just school, practice, eat, sleep and start all over again.

"Some days, it becomes a bit of a grind, but that's the work you have to do if you really want to do well in college and at baseball."