Beyond Sports: ISU’s Trey Krause strikes out cancer
It took nearly three full years at Illinois State before pitcher Trey Krause got to take the mound for the first time.
That's because the Burlington, Wis., native was diagnosed in 2020 with a rare bone cancer called Ewing sarcoma. The months of chemotherapy and surgery were successful, but he lost 30 pounds and had to be isolated from everyone except immediate family because he was being treated during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
In this edition of Beyond Sports, Krause said his return to baseball earlier this month marked what he hopes is the end of a long road to recovery.
“(It’s) probably the most difficult that will probably go on in my life,” Krause said. “It’s one of those things you go through that’s very, very difficult, but then when you come out of it healthy, it’s probably the most relieving thing and you learn so much through it.”
Doctors deemed Krause cancer free in late 2020. He took a year off baseball to work on regaining his weight and strength.
Krause said coach Steve Holm surprised him and the team when he announced on the bus during a road trip that Krause was going to start their next game, which was March 8 at Tennessee-Martin.
“I had no clue. I don’t think anyone had a clue and the bus just kinda went crazy,” recalled Krause, adding he called his parents and his father took the nearly eight-hour drive from Burlington to see him pitch that game.
Krause said he didn’t feel nervous taking the mound, even though he had dreamed of the moment for well over a year.
He struck out the first batter he faced, to raucous applause from his teammates.
“I’m pretty sure I had no clue what happened the next four batters or however many I faced. I had stopped thinking at that point,” he quipped. Krause completed the first inning in a game the Redbirds won, 6-1.
Krause said his teammates became like brothers to him for the way they supported him through his recovery.
“There’s always a text coming through from one of my teammates just saying how much they support me, how much I’m an inspiration. It’s just so satisfying to have a team like that,” he said.
Krause is an inspiration to more than just his teammates. His coach was impressed, too.
"I think it was pretty emotional for everybody,” said head coach Steve Holm. “We were the ones that had to tell him two years ago. To see him be able to go out there and do his thing was pretty special.”
Krause said he's not sure when he will graduate. He's a junior academically, but still has three more years of eligibility to play baseball. The business administration major said he wants to stay in baseball after college, either in business or as a player.