OAKLEY -- He's back in the game.
Trevor Gillilan pitched the entire opening game of the season for Brentwood Pony Baseball League earlier this month, flinging the ball with an arm that surgeons had opened up just a few weeks earlier to release the tension of scar tissue that was constricting his movements.
"They didn't know if he was going to be able to pitch again," said Oakley resident Rick Gillilan of his 16-year-old son, who sustained second- and third-degree burns over most of his body Aug. 30 when a backyard campfire flared out of control.
Trevor was with two friends when one of them poured accelerant on the flames.
"All of a sudden I saw a flash, and I ran away," he said.
But Trevor was already on fire, which his buddies managed to extinguish only after turning the garden hose on him.
An ambulance rushed the Freedom High School sophomore to the playing field of a nearby elementary school where a helicopter flew him to Shriner's Hospitals for Children burn center in Sacramento.
Trevor spent the next six weeks in the intensive care unit, undergoing three surgeries as doctors grafted skin from his scalp, back, stomach and buttocks onto his chin and chest, the backs of his hands, left arm and both legs, which were burned from top to bottom.
As scar tissue formed, there were additional procedures to give Trevor more range of motion in his arms as well as daily rehabilitation exercises to get him standing and walking again.
Before the accident, he'd been as active as any kid; he went fishing, camping, mountain biking and wakeboarding, as well as played football and basketball.
And baseball -- there was always baseball.
Trevor's a natural, said his coach of four years, Tony George, noting that the teen not only has the hand-eye coordination needed to connect with the ball when he's up at bat but the acuity to quickly analyze the possible outcome of a play in deciding where to throw the ball.
The young man also readily accepts constructive criticism and, though a perfectionist with himself, is quick to encourage teammates when they make a mistake, George said.
Baseball was in the forefront of Trevor's thoughts when his coach visited him in the hospital.
"All he wanted to do is get back on the field," George said.
That drive fueled Trevor's perseverance during the hours of painful therapy that began while he was still in intensive care.
"They called him the miracle because of his fight to get out of there," Rick Gillilan said, noting that Trevor's discharge on Nov. 8 was about seven weeks sooner than doctors originally had predicted.
While Rick and his wife, Joelle, kept vigil over their only child, Trevor stayed on top of the assignments that teachers emailed him while he was in the hospital, and when he returned to classes in January he apparently hadn't lost any ground because his third-quarter grades reflect a nearly straight-A average.
The tight elastic garments he must wear on his legs and torso to make the scars flatter and softer haven't stopped him from playing pickup basketball with friends, trying out the dirt bike he had received the day of the accident, or being chased around the house by his 6-year-old Lab, Rocko.
Although Trevor had feared that his life would change forever, he's discovering that's not the case.
Kids at school don't treat him any differently, he says, nor is he self-conscious about his appearance.
"Now it's back to normal," he said.
Trevor will re-up with the travel ball team East Bay Mustangs in June, and his goal is to try out again for the Falcons baseball team in his junior year.
Recovering the muscle memory involved in reaching for a grounder or taking a decisive step toward the ball's trajectory the moment a player swings will require lots of repetition, but George has every confidence Trevor will retrain his body.
"He will be a high school baseball player again, and he most likely will play some level of college baseball," he said. "He's already well on his way."
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.