‘I couldn’t hold myself together’: Shuckers player speaks out after young fan is struck by foul ball

The child was struck on May 31 at a game in MGM Park.

‘I couldn’t hold myself together’: Shuckers player speaks out after young fan is struck by foul ball
Biloxi Shuckers All-Star Luis Avila Jr. was devastated May 31 after he hit a foul ball that struck a young fan in the stands.

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A young Shuckers fan is on the road to recovery after being hit with a foul ball last month at MGM Park. It’s a moment that was heart-stopping for Shuckers All-Star Luis Aviles Jr.

Aviles was up to bat on Friday, May 31. The Shuckers were down one in the bottom of the eighth and he was determined to make a difference. When his foul ball went soaring into the stands and struck the child, all thoughts of the game quickly exited his mind.

“As soon as I saw him getting hit, the first thing out of my head was ‘Like wow, I just killed someone,’" said Aviles.

Players and fans surrounding the child began waving their arms for help. A seven-minute delay would follow but once the fan and his family had made their exit, Aviles still had a job to do. He promptly chopped one down the third base line and scored the tying run.

The debate over whether nets should extend to the foul posts is one that is happening across the Minor Leagues.
The debate over whether nets should extend to the foul posts is one that is happening across the Minor Leagues.

After that inning was over, he couldn’t hold the emotions back any longer.

“I couldn’t hold myself together in the moment," said Aviles. “I just went in to the tunnel and broke down. I had a few teammates that came up to me and were there for me that whole inning.”

Concern for the kid at the top of his mind, Aviles left MGM Park and headed for the hospital.

“I’m a human being and I have feelings," he said. "I was a kid not too long ago. And if that would have happened to me and one of the players did that for me, that would have touched me a lot. So that was the first thing that came to my head. I was like, ‘Listen, I got to go the hospital. I have to meet the family, I have to meet the kid.’”

The act of kindness was appreciated, and when he finally got to meet the young fan, the Shuckers superstar was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.

“When I got to meet the kid, as soon as I saw him, the kid gave me a smile. So I knew he was good at that moment, and I was like, ‘Oh, now I can breathe.’”

The young Shuckers fan suffered a fractured orbital and is still recovering.

Aviles says he would like to see the nets extended down to the foul posts. Many in the Shuckers organization are expecting major and minor league baseball to hold discussions on the the netting issue next off season.

Copyright 2019 WLOX. All rights reserved.