Tragedy struck in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, this week when a 19-year-old college baseball player died Wednesday from injuries he sustained after a makeshift dugout fell on him Monday.
Angel Mercado-Ocasio, a freshman at Central Penn College who played shortstop and second base, was volunteering at a youth baseball league when a wooden dugout he and others were deconstructing collapsed. Mercado-Ocasio reportedly suffered a head injury and was resuscitated before being taken to a local hospital, according to ABC27. He spent two days in the hospital before he died. Another unidentified person also suffered unknown injuries.
“Our Central Penn College family is devastated by the loss of Angel,” college president Linda Fedrizzi-Williams wrote in a statement. “As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much.
“No words can adequately express our anguish.”
The group attempted to take down the wooden dugout after the city told them they didn’t have a permit to build the structure on the ball field in Harrisburg, according to Fox43. Head coach Geraldo Diaz added that some of the players were “playing around” the dugout and he told them to stop before the dugout collapsed.
“I tried my best to protect him,” Diaz said. “I got mad at them, I told them to stop playing around but kids will be kids. I still feel responsible.”
Matt Maisel, director of communications for the city of Harrisburg, told Fox that the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will finish taking down the dugouts after a site review. No legal action will be taken against the coach or players, according to Maisel, nor has any legal action been taken against the city.
Mercado-Ocasio tallied a .167 batting average with 11 hits, two RBIs and seven stolen bases in 17 games for Central Penn.