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Ballplayer Critically Injured Before Game

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A 17-year-old boy who was apparently hit in the head by a baseball during a pregame warmup was in critical condition Sunday night, according to police.

The Glendale teenager, whose identity was not released, was preparing to play in an American Legion Baseball League game. He was practicing at Verdugo Park’s Stengel Field at about 5:30 p.m. when he threw a pitch to an 18-year-old batter, according to Sgt. Rick Young of the Glendale Police Department.

The batter hit the ball and then looked up to see the pitcher hold his head and fall to the ground, Young said. The batter, also from Glendale, told police he did not see the ball strike the pitcher because he was following through on his swing.

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Young said police assume that the victim was hit by the ball.

The pitcher was admitted to Glendale Adventist Medical Center with head trauma, according to a nursing supervisor at the hospital.

Other than the batter, whose identity was also withheld, there were no witnesses, Young said.

Sunday’s incident occurred less than two months after a string of freak accidents in the region took the lives of three high school athletes. In April, Craig Kelford III, a Palos Verdes Peninsula High School student, was fatally injured when struck by a flying discus.

A week later, Heath Taylor, a pole-vaulter at Hart High School in Newhall, died when he struck his head upon landing. In early May, baseball player Kriston Palomo was killed when he collided with a baserunner during a game at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance.

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