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Woman hit by broken bat at Red Sox game expected to survive

Tonya Carpenter received severe injuries when part of a broken bat left the field of play and hit her in the head, witnesses said.

By Doug G. Ware
Woman hit by broken bat at Red Sox game expected to survive
Tonya Carpenter sustained serious injuries to her face and head Friday during a game at Boston's Fenway Park, when a player's bat exploded during a hit which sent shards of the bat into the stands behind home plate. Photo: Christopher Penler / ShutterStock

BOSTON, June 6 (UPI) -- A woman who was seriously injured when she was hit in the head by a broken bat during a game Friday night at Boston's Fenway Park will survive, a police official said Saturday.

Tonya Carpenter was sitting in the second row with her young son and a friend, behind and to the left of home plate, during Friday's game between the Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. In the top of the second inning, Oakland third baseman Brett Lawrie hit a 92 mile-per-hour fastball that exploded his bat and sent shards of all but the handle flying into the stands.

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Part of the bat struck Carpenter in the face and caused serious injuries, witnesses said. The game was delayed in the middle of the second inning as paramedics tended to her. Ultimately, the bloodied Carpenter was loaded onto a medical gurney and rushed to an ambulance.

"She is expected to survive," Boston police spokeswoman Officer Rachel McGuire said Saturday. The Boston Globe and Northeast Cable News reported her condition as "serious but stable."

A Boston police officer picked up Carpenter's young son in the aftermath of the injury and removed him from the scene as medics treated his mother.

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Carpenter's family expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support and said she remains in a Boston hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery Friday night.

"Tonya's family and loved ones are grateful to all who have reached out with thoughts and prayers but are requesting privacy at this time as Tonya recovers," her family said in a statement, the New York Daily News reported.

"Fan safety is our foremost goal for all those who choose to support our game by visiting our ballparks," Major League Baseball said in a statement released Saturday afternoon. "We will always strive for that experience to be safe and fan-friendly."

Carpenter's injury shocked both teams and more than 30,000 in attendance at Fenway Park on Friday. Some parents shielded their children's eyes from the gruesome sight just behind home plate, and others did the same as medics whisked Carpenter's gurney past fans on the first base side on their way out of the park.

A video taken by a fan and posted to the website Deadspin captured the frightening scene and recorded the woman's audible cries as she was hurriedly wheeled past concerned spectators and the Red Sox dugout, where every player watched from the top step.

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"The bat snapped in half near the end of the bat," witness Alex Merlas said. "It hit on the forehead to the top of the head ... it was a blunt trauma and it was a lot of blood. I don't think I've ever seen that much blood."

After Carpenter was removed from the stands, park ushers worked to clean the area where she had been sitting.

"Sobering to watch ushers wiping blood from [the] row where young woman was sitting," witness Gordon Edes tweeted.

Lawrie, who did not play in Saturday's game due to a back injury, said after Friday's game that he hoped the woman would be okay.

"You try to keep her in your thoughts and, hopefully, everything's all right and try to get back to the task at hand," he said. "You've got limited netting here in Boston. So when you're behind home plate and you're along third base side, first base side you really gotta be heads up.

"Anything coming in the stands ... it's so close that there's really no time to react."

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