19-Year-Old Baseball Player Dies After Makeshift Dugout Collapses on Him

“No words can adequately express our anguish,” said Central Penn College President Fedrizzi-Williams

<p>Central Penn College</p> Angel Mercado

Central Penn College

Angel Mercado

A 19-year-old Central Penn College student and baseball player has died after a wooden dugout collapsed above him, according to a news release from Central Penn College.

The student, who was identified as Angel Mercado, had been working on removing a wooden dugout in a city park at 7th and Radnor Streets in Harrisburg, Penn. as part of the Harrisburg International League, when the structure “unexpectedly collapsed,” seriously injuring him and another player.

Gerardo Diaz, the team’s coach, told local news station WPMT-TV that the baseball players had been taking down a makeshift dugout they put up before their recreation league baseball game, which had constructed without permission. He said the players had been fooling around as they deconstructed the structure.

“I tried my best to protect him," Diaz said, noting to the outlet that he blamed himself for not paying closer attention to the students. "I got mad at them, I told them to stop playing around but kids will be kids. I still feel responsible.”

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Diaz told WHTM-TV that after the structure collapsed, he performed CPR on Mercado, who had regained consciousness, before he was sent to Holy Spirit Hospital.

Central Penn College President Fedrizzi-Williams announced that Mercado died from his injuries at the hospital in a letter to parents on Wednesday.

“As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much,” Fedrizzi-Williams said in the letter.

“No words can adequately express our anguish,” she continued. “Our baseball team all said their good-byes to Angel yesterday and expressed their love to their brother. We will all be changed because Angel is no longer with us, but we will also be changed because he was.”

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The Cumberland County Coroner’s office confirmed to WHTM-TV that Mercado had died from a traumatic head injury.

Mercado’s Penn College baseball coach Robert Stern Central started a GoFundMe to help pay for his funeral expenses.

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“This loss hits heavily on his family, friends, teammates, coaches, and the entire community. We are asking for help to support his family during this difficult time,” he wrote.

“We know Angel will live on through his loved ones and teammates. We truly will have an Angel in the outfield,” he added.

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