Young fan at Indianapolis Indians game hit by foul ball, raises questions about netting at ballparks

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It was chaos at a ballpark after a foul ball went into the stands, striking a little boy in the face. This comes days after we asked the Indians about their safety procedures.

The Lipscomb family tells CBS4 there were many foul balls at Saturday night’s game, but they never thought something tragic would happen.

It happened at the top of the third inning.

"All of a sudden his head back, and then I seen his mom kind of go too. And then you see the crowd kind of erupt down in that area. And I [saw] the dad come in and pick him up, but I didn't see him talking or crying. They carried him up into the pavilion. Then a couple of minutes later I could hear him screaming," said Tonya Lipscomb, who was sitting just feet away when the ball came into the stands.

“In that moment it was pure silence. And as a parent, it was instantly you were just like feeling what those parents were feeling. It was horrifying, it was traumatizing and scary,” she said.

Many spectators were eager to learn if the little boy was OK. The batter, Gwinnett Striper Ryan LaMarre, was also distraught, taking a knee in the batter's box. The screams from the young boy left many concerned down the first baseline.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t want to look. As we were going around, there was staff that was kind of blocking him off. But I did see his little arm, and it had blood on it, so I did see that. But I just couldn’t get myself to look. I just didn’t want to see,” Lipscomb said.

Spectators were unsure if LaMarre could finish the game. Last week in Houston, a similar incident happened with Chicago Cubs batter Albert Almora Jr. when a little girl was hit in the face.

These incidents are sparking a broader conversation about safety at the parks. A few years ago, the Indians extended their netting to both dugouts. But Lipscomb wonders if that’s enough.

“I don’t feel personally like it is the spectator’s job to worry about safety at these events. Of course, we take extra precautions, but I can’t educate a 3-year-old on how to watch out for a fastball. I mean even if a fastball were coming at me as an adult, how am I supposed to protect myself from that?”

The Indians released an initial statement saying:

Tonight a young fan was struck by a foul ball along the first base line. Onsite EMT personnel provided treatment at the stadium, and the fan was transported to the hospital. We are not able to disclose further details at this time. Our thoughts are with the entire family.

Lipscomb says she and her family left immediately after, out of fear for her two boys, ages 3 and 13. But the little boy’s cry for help continues to repeat itself.

“We’ve been praying, and I hope that he’s OK,” she said.

The Lipscomb family says they’re hesitant about returning to the ballpark.

On Tuesday, the Indians released the following statement to update the public on the situation:

The young fan who was injured during last Saturday night's game was treated at a local hospital, released the following day and is recuperating at home. We have been in constant contact with the family. They asked us to provide an update, thank the community for its concern and requested continued privacy.

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