By Dom Calicchio
Published May 25, 2019
A pitcher for the University of Texas women’s softball team was said to be “doing well” Friday night after being hit in the face with the ball during an NCAA regional tournament game in Alabama, according to reports.
Miranda Elish was struck in the second inning when the Longhorns’ catcher, Mary Iakopo, grabbed a bunted ball and tried to throw out a runner heading to second base.
Instead, Iakopo’s throw struck Elish squarely in the face, knocking her to the ground.
“She said ‘I’m OK, I’m OK,’ and of course it didn’t look good,” Longhorns coach Mike White told AL.com, recalling his pitcher’s words as he arrived at the mound to help. “And we knew she wasn’t OK. She was in a lot of pain going to the hospital.”
“She said ‘I’m OK, I’m OK,’ and of course it didn’t look good. And we knew she wasn’t OK. She was in a lot of pain going to the hospital.”
Later, White told Alabama college station WVUA-TV: "She’s going to be OK, we just have to run some more tests and see what happens from there but she was in good spirits and sent us a message straight away about the game. Obviously, nobody feels worse than Mary Iakopo but those things happen, it was a total accident and she came out and did it for her team.”
It turned out that the umpire had declared the ball foul, making the throw unnecessary.
Video from the game telecast showed Elish lying near the mound as Texas trainers rushed to her aid. Players and fans looked on quietly, then applauded as Elish was helped off the field.
Elish, a junior from Crown Point, Ind., was taken to a hospital as a precaution, ESPN reported.
Later Friday night, after Texas posted a 7-5 victory over Alabama, the Longhorns players received a text message from Elish, indicating she was doing OK, AL.com reported. But Elish was expected to remain in the hospital overnight.
After the game, the Texas team tweeted thanks to the fans who were concerned about Elish.
"Thanks so much all for the prayers and good thoughts for @elish_miranda. They are beyond appreciated by all of us with Texas softball," the message said.
As for Iakopo, the catcher who threw the ball that struck Elish, she later smacked a three-run home run to help Texas win, the report said.
The teams’ best-of-three series will be decided with a final game Saturday in Tuscaloosa.