A beloved 9-year-old batboy for a summer collegiate baseball team died Sunday, one day after he was struck in the head with a bat.
Kaiser Carlile idolized the Liberal Bee Jays from Liberal, Kansas. During the team’s National Baseball Congress World Series game Saturday night, he was accidentally hit by a player’s bat.
“With the permission of the family, and with much sorrow and a very broken heart, I regretfully inform everyone that Kaiser Carlile passed away earlier this evening,” team president Nathan McCaffrey said in a statement Sunday night.
For many of the Bee Jays, Kaiser’s death was deeply personal.
“Kaiser, you were a little brother I never had,” Kadon Simmons said. “You took the field with us every game this summer. You were, and always will be a Bee Jay. No person or team could ask for a better bat boy. It is terrible to see you leave in such a way, but knowing your last moments were on the baseball field makes it easier through this whole process, because you were doing what you loved.”
“Pleasure being around this young man for a short time,” Cale O’Donnell tweeted. “Heaven gained an angel today. Rest in Peace Kaiser.”
Kaiser was supposed to start the fourth grade at Sunflower Intermediate School this month, The Wichita Eagle columnist Bob Lutz wrote.
One of the batters accidentally hit Kaiser during a warmup swing as the boy was retrieving a bat, McCaffrey said.
The team president said he heard the bat hit with Kaiser, who was wearing a helmet, before he took a few steps back and fell.
“Just to see him fall, that’s what crushes you,” he said.
The Bee Jays continued their game against the San Diego Waves on Saturday night, winning 12-5 in 13 innings.
They went on to play against the Haysville Aviators on Sunday night.
“Liberal wins! Bee Jays defeat Haysville 8-0! That’s for you KC!” the team tweeted.
CNN’s Faith Karimi, Mary Helen Moore, Joe Sutton and Carma Hassan contributed to this report
By Holly Yan