The small community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was struck by a tragedy on Monday when Angel Mercado-Ocasio, 19, suffered a traumatic brain injury at a baseball field.
According to reports Mercado-Ocasio was helping along with the rest of his team take down a makeshift dugout when it collapsed on him.
The Central Penn College freshman and Harrisburg High School standout athlete passed away on Tuesday at the Holy Spirit Hospital, despite first responders’ efforts to revive him.
The news of Mercado-Ocasio’s untimely death has caused shock throughout the Central Penn College community, with President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams expressing her grief in a statement: “Our Central Penn College family is devastated by the loss of Angel. As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heartbreaking 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. No words can adequately express our anguish.”
Mayor Wanda Williams also voiced her condolences for the Harrisburg local, saying, “Anytime someone passes, we lose a little bit of who we are. It hurts even more when it’s one of our own. Angel was our son, a proud Harrisburg Cougar, and a standout, promising young athlete. He died helping others around the sport he loved. It’s heart-wrenching. Angel embraced so many people, and now we need to embrace his memory.”
Francisco Escudero, a teammate, told WMTV of Mercado-Ocasio’s determination. He said, “He didn’t care who he was going up against. I feel like he had whatever he had in him to try and beat the opponent,” said fellow teammate Francisco Escudero.
This tragedy is made more difficult since blame has been placed on Angel’s baseball coach, Gerardo Diaz, who said, “I tried my best to protect him. I got mad at them. I told them to stop playing around, but kids will be kids. I still feel responsible.”