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Young Singer Injured When Baseball Bat Flies Into Stands

by and on July 28, 2013 5:40 PM

She's only 10 years old, but Bellefonte's Meredith Frey is a veteran when it comes to singing the National Anthem.

The young singer, a soon-to-be fifth grader at Marion-Walker Elementary School, performed the National Anthem for the fifth time at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park last week. But it wasn't singing the anthem that made the game memorable.

Following her flawless performance, Frey and her family took their seats along the first base line. That's when things got interesting. In the second inning, the Spikes' David Washington was in the batter's box. On a routine swing and a miss, Washington's bat slipped out of his hands and landed in the crowd.

The bat helicoptered into the stands, hit a railing first. The ricochet struck Frey in the shoulder and forehead.

“It was scary,” said Meredith's mother, Hope Frey. “I was at the concession stand and my husband called me and said that she'd been hit by a bat. At first, I didn't think I heard him right. Then he said it again and it started to sink in. I was really shocked, obviously.”

A Spikes' usher and an EMT immediate went to Meredith's seat to check on her. She was taken from the stands, evaluated and given some ice cream.

“The bat hit her in the face, so we had a doctor from Penn State check her out and make sure she was OK,” Hope said. “They checked all of her extremities but the thing they really worry about is a concussion.”

She was given an ice pack for her forehead and sat in a wheelchair behind home plate before returning to her seat in the fourth inning.

“I wanted to leave, but we had our whole family there to watch Meredith sing, so we stayed. Meredith really wanted to stay for the whole game,” Hope explained.

The Spikes trailed in the bottom of the ninth when Washington won the game with the first walk-off grand slam in Spikes history. After the game, Spikes officials escorted Frey and her family to the field so she could meet Washington.

Washington was apologetic.

“He said 'I'm so sorry about what happened.' Then he asked if I was OK,” Meredith said.

With the bat that had struck her firmly in her hands, Washington offered her something even more special — the game-winning home run ball, which had been retrieved by Spikes' officials.

“It’s embarrassing just to lose your bat anyway and then you see it go in the stands,” he said. “I swung hard and it was going fast. I’m just glad nobody got seriously hurt.”

Hope Frey was glad to see her daughter smiling as fireworks exploded in the night sky.

“Meredith really wanted to meet him. She had some dizziness, but she really hung in there. It was important to her,” Hope said.

Meredith posed for pictures with Washington on the field. He also signed the bat.

Meredith said she's already looking forward to singing the National Anthem at another Spikes game. And she'll take a seat along one of the baselines to watch the ballgame after she performs. Is she afraid of getting hit by another flying bat?

“No,” she said. “Because I know this rarely happens.”

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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