CHICAGO – Plenty of kids dream of catching a fly ball during a baseball game, but for one unlucky young fan it was actually a flying bat that headed her way.
Six-year-old Ella and her family were watching the Cubs take on the Padres June 21 at Wrigley Field when Addison Russell took a hard swing in the seventh inning.
The bat flew from his hands and into the stands, striking Ella in the back of the head. Dad Matt Hunnicutt said it happened so fast after the seventh-inning stretch, they didn’t see it coming, according to WGN.
“It was this parent’s worst heart-sinking nightmare come to life,” he would later write on Facebook.
The flying bat interrupted the young Cubs fan’s first trip to the ballpark nicknamed “The Friendly Confines.” Matt said he and his wife Kelly actually met and got married in Chicago before moving to Portland 10 years ago. But they still fly the Cubs flag on game days. After all, the baseball fans had their first date at Wrigley Field. So it’s obvious which team Ella grew up cheering for.
“She wasn’t given much of a choice when she was born – we were both big Cubs fans and we credit the Cubs with bringing us together a little bit,” Matt said.
After Ella was hit, Matt said she was rushed by Cubs ushers and her mom to get first aid, and later taken to a nearby hospital. Her rattled parents were concerned when she grew nauseous from her injury, but luckily scans didn’t find any fractures or internal bleeding. She was eventually diagnosed with a concussion.
“I think her parents are more scared than she is — she’s 6 years old and thinks she has a bump on her head,” Matt said.
Back home in Portland, Ella has been taking it easy and her dad hopes she will get the all-clear from doctors Wednesday to “go back to being a kid.” He said she’s been a positive, tough kid through it all and is looking at her experience as a good story to tell.
“She does want to write Addison a letter because I think she’s worried that he might be worried about her – so she wants to write him a letter to let him know that she’s doing better,” Matt said.
And Ella is still a Cubs fan. Matt said she was disappointed they lost to the Padres 3-2 after she left, and like any true fan she worried her presence might have made the difference.
And she’d like to return to Wrigley Field – with a slight adjustment.
“She said, ‘Yes, I do want to go back; I just want to sit really high up,’” Matt said.