Tragedy struck the Waynesville High School community this week when Tigers player Patrick Clegg was hit by a pitch that led to his death.
According to an Associated Press report from FoxNews.com, Waynesville had a road game against Lebanon High School (Mo.). Clegg was batting and turned to try to avoid an errantly thrown pitch.
Clegg was hit under the bottom of the helmet. He collapsed, and was pronounced brain dead on Thursday. On Friday, his organs were donated to those in need.
"He was exactly where he wanted to be in life," Mike Clegg, Patrick's father, told the Associated Press. "He was in the process of getting letters from colleges for baseball. We saw nothing but hope for his future at the collegiate level and hopefully beyond."
The incident has shocked the state of Missouri.
Parkview head coach John Thompson, whose team is scheduled to take on Waynesville in two weeks, was stunned to hear the news.
“"I think anytime you encounter the reality of life instead of the game, it hits home with everybody -- it doesn't matter who you're playing for or what team you're on," Thompson told the Springfield Star-Leader. "In that situation, you just think about the player and his family in this important time.
Waynesville is scheduled to take on conference foe Glendale (Mo.) on Tuesday, the day of Clegg’s memorial services. It is not yet clear if that game will be played.
Glendale coach Howard Bell was disturbed by the tragedy.
“I haven't heard that happen, where you turn and your helmet goes up and it hits you," Bell told the Star-Leader. "I mean, it's a freak accident. I feel sorry for the kid and the team and everybody.”
A recent article from SI.com, citing numbers from researcher Bob Gorman, reports that 111 amateur baseball players have died from beanings since 1887.
More recently, great controversy has surrounded the use of metal bats in high school and youth baseball, as line drives have injured pitchers and infielders in recent years.
The issue has also arisen in softball; last month, two Pittsburgh area pitchers were hospitalized after being struck by batted balls, according to the Tribune-Review.
Patrick Clegg’s death is being viewed as an unavoidable tragedy. He wore his helmet and correctly turned his back to the pitch so as to protect his face and chest.
Calling the incident an “absolute aberration,” Mike Clegg harbored no blame toward the pitcher for his son’s death.
"I hope that that leads to him believing that he is going the right direction and get back out there and play the game, because that is what my son would tell him to do if he had the opportunity," Mike Clegg told the Associated Press.