Baseball Players Death Prompts More Safety Precautions - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/2/07-Tyler

Baseball Players Death Prompts More Safety Precautions

With speeds of over 100 miles an hour, the line drive is one of baseball's most powerful hits. It is also one of the most dangerous.

Last week a line drive and a lack of protection claimed the life of 17-year-old Chris Gavora of Grapevine.

Gavora was pitching to a teammate when in a batting cage, when another player hit a line drive through an opening in the net, across an open area to the second batting cage hitting, Gavora in the back of the head.

School officials later determined that the second batting net that could have stopped the ball, was not in place.

"This is an unfortunate situation that kind of shocked the baseball community," said UT Tyler head baseball coach James Vilade.

News of Gavora's death has prompted schools like UT Tyler to double check their batting cages. The Patriots already had extensive protection.

"We do inspections on our cage on a weekly basis," Vilade said. "We've got two tunnels, we've got two protective screens the players can stand behind."

KLTV followed batting practice inside the cage and after the ball was hit, we clocked it with our camera. It was 0.8 of a second before it reached the back of the cage. Combine that with a bat speed of 80 miles an hour, and that is faster than anyone can react.

"It is a freak accident but it reassures people that you do need to take safety precautions and if you are wearing a helmet and if you are taking precautions that one freak accident doesn't happen," said UT Tyler third baseman Neil Christian.

In response to Chris Gavora's death, anyone who steps into a batting cage of the Grapevine-Colleyville school district will now be required to wear a helmet.

Maya Golden, reporting

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