Batter Takes Ball to the Head, Hugs Pitcher Responsible

Tears shed during touching moment of sportsmanship in Little League championship
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2022 9:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Little League batter took a pitch to the helmet, which went flying, before dropping to the ground on Tuesday. Thankfully, Oklahoma's Isaiah Jarvis, 12, was soon back on his feet and embracing the pitcher who'd hit him. It was a touching moment, "helping to remind us all what baseball is about at its purest form," according to MLB. The pitcher, Texas East's Kaiden Shelton, was visibly emotional following the stray pitch in the first inning of the Southwest Region championship game at Marvin Norcross Stadium in Waco, Texas. After taking first base, Isaiah noticed. He slowly walked to the pitching mound and wrapped his arms around Kaiden, who was looking at the ground, one hand on his head.

"When I was at first base, that’s when I saw him crying," Isaiah tells the Washington Post. He knew what his opponent must be thinking. "If you hit a guy, you'd probably be pretty down on yourself after that, and emotional," he says. "You've got to think: 'Is he okay? Did I just give him a concussion?'" So he began speaking into Kaiden's ear. "I was making sure he was okay and was telling him I was okay," he says. Several of Kaiden's teammates soon joined the pair, offering a pat on the back, as Kaiden tried to control his tears. "The display of sportsmanship, not to mention outright compassion, also brought tears to the eyes of more than a few observers, including some coaches and fans," per the Post.

"It was the most remarkable thing I think I've ever seen in my life," Oklahoma coach Sean Kouplen tells the outlet, adding the team was unaware the game was nationally televised on ESPN. Isaiah says he considers himself lucky. "If that ball had broke, like, a half more of an inch, it could have broken my jaw," he says. But "[I] just had a small headache." His team went on to lose 9-4, sending Texas East to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., later this month. But "being a good person is more important than being a great player," Isaiah's father Austin Jarvis tells the Post. "What Isaiah did is what our whole world should be doing right now: loving others, above and beyond our differences," adds Kouplen. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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