SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The father of a south-central Missouri baseball player who died after being hit by a wild throw said Friday that he doesn't blame the pitcher.
Mike Clegg said he hugged the Lebanon High School player whose pitch hit 16-year-old Patrick Clegg and told him it was an "absolute aberration" and a freak accident and he shouldn't hold himself responsible.
"I hope that that leads to him believing that he is going the right direction and get back out there and play the game, because that is what my son would tell him to do if he had the opportunity," Mike Clegg said.
Patrick Clegg, a Waynesville High School junior, was batting Tuesday at Lebanon when he turned to avoid being hit by a pitch. The baseball hit him just below his helmet and he collapsed.
Doctors at St. John's Hospital in Springfield declared Patrick brain dead Thursday. He was taken off a respirator and his organs were donated Friday.
His father, who had returned in March from eight months in Iraq, said Patrick had been receiving letters from colleges interested in recruiting him.
"He was exactly where he wanted to be in life," Mike Clegg said. "He was in the process of getting letters from colleges for baseball. We saw nothing but hope for his future at the collegiate level and hopefully beyond."
Services for Patrick Clegg will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday.