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Illinois boy, 12, dies after being hit by baseball while warming up for game

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Eric Lederman died after being struck in the neck by a baseball. (MyFoxChicago.com)

A 12-year-old sports fanatic has died in Illinois after being hit in the neck by a baseball while warming up for a game this week.

Eric Lederman, a sixth-grader from Oswego, Ill., roughly 50 miles southwest of Chicago, was hospitalized after being hit while throwing a ball with a teammate Wednesday night before a league game in Wheaton, the Chicago Tribune reported.

He died Thursday night, leaving his local community in shock.

"He was an inspiration to his teammates, coaches and baseball family," Brian Zacker, the coach of Eric's baseball team, told the newspaper. "He played with an infectious smile and played the game with tremendous passion and heart."

Oswego Softball and Baseball Association executive director John Thorson told the Chicago Sun-Times that officials were working on plans to set up a memorial for the Lederman family.

"I've played baseball many years and in college and I've never seen anything like this," he said.

"It's a tragic freak accident. But right now we're concentrating all our efforts on the family and the team and the coaching staff. They are all literally beside themselves."

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