There are few moments in sports more terrifying than when a batter is struck in the helmet with a fastball or line drive. In fact, the only way that scenario might become more terrifying is if the victim in question is a child.
That's precisely what played out on live television during a horrific moment on the first day of the Little League on Thursday. During the Japan squad's game against Curacao, the Carribean champion, 6-foot Japanese pitching phenom Kotaro Kiyoyima lost control of a blazing fastball, which soared up toward Curacao's Ceddanne Rafaela, standing in the right-handed batting box.
As captured by SportsGrid in the video captured above, Rafaela had no time to get out of the way of Kiyoyima's offering, with the ball eventually striking helmet with a thunderous clap that sounded almost like a lumberjack striking a tree stump with his first might swing.
While the contact itself was terrifying, what followed was nothing short of heart warming. Rafaela immediately popped up, seemingly a bit confused, and started to walk as if he were going to line back up in the box. Yet before Rafaela even got into the batter's box, the umpire took the bat from him and steadied the youngster until his manager could get there.
Rafaela quickly told his manager and the ump that he was fine to continue, and trotted his way down to first base. By the time he got there, the Japanese manager and Kiyoyima were arriving to offer their sincere apologies.
That kind of sportsmanship is almost unparalleled at other levels of sports. It certainly has never been more sincere, as the horrified look on Kiyoyima's face is testament to.
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