A 9-year-old bat boy for the Liberal Bee Jays was rushed to Via Christi-St. Francis in critical condition Saturday afternoon after being struck in the head with a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle during a National Baseball Congress World Series game.
Bee Jays general manager Mike Carlile confirmed that Kaiser Carlile, his cousin’s son, remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit and was in critical condition a hour after the game concluded. The boy was wearing a helmet, which is mandatory during the World Series, an NBC spokesman said.
When the accident occurred, home-plate umpire Mark Goldfeder came to the boy’s aid and treated him until the ambulance arrived. Goldfeder is a 25-year veteran as a paramedic with the Tarpon Springs (Fla.) Fire Rescue.
And he almost wasn’t working the game, as Goldfeder was switched to behind the plate an hour before the game. Goldfeder was not made available for comment.
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“I didn’t see what happened,” Mike Carlile said. “I just heard something and immediately started running down to the field and I get down there and the home-plate umpire is throwing out medical jargon. The guy definitely knew what he was doing. He was a Godsend that we had him behind the plate today.”
Players from both teams knelt in circles in prayer when it became apparent that the injury was serious.
After the boy was carried off the field on a stretcher, Carlile said he didn’t feel like continuing the game.
“I was ready to throw in the towel at that point,” Carlile said. “We had a meeting and the kids have been around that young man all summer long and they said no way they were giving up. It was their decision to play.”
Liberal rallied in 13 innings to defeat San Diego 13-5 and advance in the winners bracket.
“I’m just at a loss of words,” Liberal manager Adam Anderson said. “This was just so unfortunate and tragic and it was an accident. It was a very emotional game for our guys and it was incredible how they were able to claw through to just stay in the game mentally. Now all we can do is hope and pray that everything works out OK.”
Liberal president Nathan McCaffrey issued a statement after the game.
“The Bee Jays would like to thank (Goldfeder) and emergency responders for their efforts,” McCaffrey wrote. “We also appreciate everyone’s love, support, thoughts and prayers during this time. Please continue to pray and keep Kaiser and his family in your thoughts.”