GALVESTON, Texas (CN) - A Little League umpire approved an "unlicensed" and "altered" metal bat that sent a wicked line drive into a pitcher's skull, the boy's parents claim in court.
Emmett Parsutt Sr. and Elena Parsutt sued League City Little League Inc. and Little League Inc. on behalf of their son Emmett Parsutt Jr., in Galveston County Court.
They claim that after their son was injured, a parent took the bat, locked it in his car, and refused to turn it over.
"Little League Baseball Company has a worldwide presence," the complaint states. "It has headquarters in Texas, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia, Hong Kong, Canada, Poland and Puerto Rico. Each summer, thousands of baseball players set out to accomplish childhood glory at the Little League World Series held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
"The core of a Little League game is the same as a Major League game. It is baseball. The pitcher pitches; the batter hits; the team with the most runs at the end of the game wins. There are some inherently different aspects of Little League games that make them unique though: the pitchers' mounds are closer in proximity to the hitters, and hitters use licensed metal, not wooden, baseball bats. For the safety of the children and to protect the integrity of the game, unlicensed (or altered) bats are strictly prohibited under Little League Baseball Company rules.
"One Texas team vying for a spot in Williamsport this year is the twelve year old League City All-Stars. The team is comprised of the top players who regularly compete in the League City Little League. League City Little League is chartered by Little League Baseball Company.
"On July 1, 2013 the League City All-Stars were set to face the Santa Fe All-stars in Texas City, Galveston County, Texas. The winner of the game would be crowned the District XIV champion and would advance to play in a regional tournament the following week in Pearland. The starting pitcher for the Santa Fe All-stars was plaintiff, Emmett Parsutt Jr.
"Concern arose prior to the start of the championship game over one of the League City All-star team's metal bats. Fans, parents, and coaches expressed their opinions to the umpires that League City All-stars were using an unlicensed metal bat. Essentially, there were safety concerns that one of the bats had been physically altered and that the League City team intended to use it.
"The umpire, following Little League Baseball Company protocol, gave the bat a look over and deemed it fit for play. However, in the fifth inning, Emmett was knocked to the ground when a line drive off one of the League City All-star's baseball bat violently struck his head. The batter, along with nearly every player on the League City All-stars, used the allegedly altered bat during the game. The alleged unlicensed baseball bat was an Easton 2012 XL1.
"The ball ricocheted off Emmett's head and went over a 20-foot fence approximately 100 feet away. While Santa Fe parents and coaches rushed to Emmett's aid, a parent (non-coach) of one of the League City All-stars came out of the stands and onto the field to retrieve the allegedly altered bat. The parent then took the bat, walked to the parking lot, and locked it in his car. Despite demands to see the bat, the parent refused and the Texas City Police were called. Somehow, the allegedly altered bat ended up in the hands of the League City Little League offices and has been allegedly sent off for testing.
"Emmett left the game on a stretcher and went to the hospital in an ambulance. The League City All-Star won the game and advanced to the Regional Championship in Pearland." (Parentheses in complaint.)
The Parsutts seek more than $1 million and punitive damages for negligence.
They are represented by Chance McMillan with Thurlow & Associates of Houston.
Lawsuits have been filed all across the nation claiming that light metal bats are more dangerous for young players than traditional metal ones.