HS kid killed by a pitched ball…where are all the people calling for softer baseballs? Did anyone even hear about this last year?


1 Response to “HS kid killed by a pitched ball…where are all the people calling for softer baseballs? Did anyone even hear about this last year?”

  1. April 21, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Waynesville — It did not take much time to find out the impact Patrick Clegg’s death had on the town of Waynesville.

    Patrick, then a junior on the Waynesville High School baseball team, was hit by a pitch April 21, 2009, in a varsity baseball game against Lebanon High School.

    Two days later, Patrick died in a Springfield hospital. The story was national news and devastated many in the small town.

    Not only did many in town know Patrick or one of his six siblings, the story of a promising young person dying resonated in the Army town.

    Mary Miller, a Waynesville real estate agent whose father started Miller Real Estate, Inc., in 1950, said the community remembers the incident well.

    “It’s something that’s still fresh in everyone’s mind,” Miller said. “It could’ve happened to any child, and so it becomes very personal to us.”

    Miller, whose daughter is often watched by the mother of Patrick’s former girlfriend, Samantha McGaughy, said the community was touched by the support of people from Lebanon and also rival Rolla, which had a football player paralyzed in a 2007 game against Waynesville.

    “They did everything they could to express their condolences and help,” she said. “No matter what the incident is in a small town, everyone pulls together.”

    Lebanon’s baseball team plays Tuesday at Waynesville, one day before the one-year anniversary of the game in which Patrick was struck.

    A scholarship in Patrick’s name has been started by coaches in the Ozark Conference. The 10 schools will raise money toward a scholarship for a senior baseball player or two in the league, depending on how much money is raised.

    Lebanon coach Paul Dudley, who is organizing the scholarship, said there is a bond between his players and those from Waynesville.

    When the Lebanon players arrived for Patrick’s funeral, Waynesville’s players were waiting outside their bus to greet them one by one.

    “It’s not something you expect to be life-and-death when we’re just out here to have fun and do our best,” Dudley said. “I was just extremely proud with the way our guys handled it.”

    That will continue Tuesday as the team will play a game with unique emotions against the Tigers.

    “It will be kind of a different thing when we go play there,” Dudley said. “There is something there between the two teams. But once the game starts, it’ll just be baseball.”

    Promoting safety

    Patrick’s death was truly a freak accident that could have happened in any baseball game in any town in America.

    No specific rule changes or safety regulations have been passed in response to the incident.

    However, talking to people in town, Patrick’s death did raise safety awareness for children in sports.

    Waynesville’s Steven Wade, whose 10-year-old son, Briley, plays for the Predators youth baseball team, said he saw an increase in the use of face masks on area ball diamonds last summer after Patrick’s death.

    A face mask connects to the helmet and helps keep it in place, but it would not have protected the area in which Patrick was struck.

    “One kid on the team last year got hit and then he came out with a mask the next game,” Wade said while helping at a recent practice.

    In nearby St. Robert, at Hibbett Sports, about 65 helmets sit on three long shelves in the baseball section of the store.

    The sizes range from extra, extra small to large; each comes with a face mask.

    “It’s a whole sad situation,” said Pat Stein, store manager, who has two kids at Waynesville High School. “Just the age (of Patrick) … someone that young.

    “It brought everyone together.”

    Contact reporter Matt Schoch at (417) 836-1191 or maschoch@news-leader.com

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