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Baseball: Line drive lands Ryan pitcher in hospital

Profile image for By Ben Baby / Staff Writer
By Ben Baby / Staff Writer

Ryan freshman pitcher Josh Mears was in guarded condition Saturday after being hit in the head by a line drive during a Friday night game against Coppell..

Mears was pitching for Ryan’s freshman team when a line drive hit Mears just above his right eye, head coach Tim Rainey said.

Rob Mears, Josh’s father, said Saturday that his son suffered a fractured right orbital bone and his eye was swollen shut.

“It wasn’t until I walked up on him that I realized how bad it was,” Rob Mears said. “It was bad. He looks like Rocky Balboa after the fight.”

Mears said his son likely will stay in intensive care at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth at least until today but things should turn out OK.

Rob Mears said that he was walking back from his truck and his wife, Satomi, was working a concession stand when he heard the crowd react. He turned a corner and saw his son down on the mound.

The game was delayed for about 20 minutes in the top of the third inning. Rainey said paramedics arrived about five minutes after an emergency call was made and a stretcher took Mears off the field.

“Obviously, everybody was pretty concerned,” Rainey said. “He went down pretty quick, pretty instantly. Everybody was just basically trying to stay calm. I was amazed at how calm he was able to stay, considering what had just happened.

“He kept his nerves about him. He was communicating to people there. His mother was on the field and he was talking to her, and she handled the situation very well.”

Rainey said it appeared that Mears slightly deflected the ball with his glove before it hit him in the head. However, Rob Mears said that he didn’t think the glove deflected the drive because the seams of the baseball were imprinted under his eye.

“[It was] just a scary situation, all the way around,” Rainey said. “Anytime that happens, whatever the injury is, you’re lucky to be able to get up and walk away from it.”

Rob Mears said they were stuck without a hospital from about 11 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday.

Starting out at Denton Regional Medical Center, Mears said, there was trouble finding a hospital that could work on the 15-year-old — too old for children’s hopsitals but too young for other doctors to work on.

At about 3 p.m. Saturday, Josh Mears was pulled out of bed, put in a chair and was able to converse just fine. Rob Mears said Josh remembered the ball getting hit and people standing around him on the mound, but some parts were forgotten.

“He didn’t even know he was in Fort Worth at this hospital,” Rob Mears said. “He thought he was still at Denton Regional.”

Rainey and Ryan varsity head coach Bret Warnack said they’ve seen similar things happen on TV and in video footage but never in person.

Warnack said he’s received messages of support and inquiries about Mears’ condition from people around the area.

“Everybody is concerned and worried about him and praying for him,” Warnack said. “I’ve had several texts from other high school coaches and people around the area today asking about him. As many prayers as we can get for him, the better.”

BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.