A sixth-grade Oswego boy was struck in the neck with a baseball earlier this week and died.
Eric Lederman, 12, was warming up for a game Wednesday evening with his traveling baseball team The Oswego Panthers in Wheaton. The Panthers are part of the Oswego Baseball and Softball Association.
He and a teammate were tossing a ball back and forth, and at some point the ball hit Lederman in the neck, striking his carotid artery. He immediately collapsed.
Lederman was taken to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downer's Grove immediately afterward and was then airlifted to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he died on Thursday. The Cook County Medical Examiner lists the time of death at 8:04 p.m. on Thursday.
Friends, teammates and coaches remembered the boy as a caring individual who was always practicing.
"He was an inspiration to his teammates, coaches, and baseball family," said his baseball coach, Brian Zacker.
Lederman played in-house baseball for two years followed by OBSA traveling baseball for three years wearing No. 2 with his primary positions being catcher, third base, and centerfield. He was also a wrestler.
Because he was a member of a traveling team, Lederman's death touched a number of different schools. He attended Thompson Junior High School, but grief counselors, social workers and nurses were on hand at every school in the district to help.
"He played with an infectious smile and played the game with tremendous passion and heart," Zacker continued. His trademark move was to clap his batting gloves together continuously when he got on base to distract the pitcher. We could always hear when he was on base. He was also the comedian of the team.
Whether we lost 2-1 or 20-1, he would always say something in our post game huddle that would make us laugh. He brought a tremendous amount of joy, passion, and love to his team, coaches, and baseball family and we will never forget him. He may have been number two in the field, but he will always be number one in our hearts."
Information regarding services and arrangements will be posted on the baseball association's website as this information becomes available.
A memorial fund has been created in Lederman's memory. Monetary donations can be made to the memorial fund at Allied First Bank, at 3201 Orchard Road in Oswego under "Eric Lederman Memorial Fund."