Autopsy Inconclusive in Boy's Softball Death

Family said they were told heart attack killed 14-year-old

A 14-year-old boy with no previous health problems died Wednesday during his school’s first softball game of the year.

Maurice Davenport caught a ball in the outfield, fell on it chest first, asked a teammate for water, then collapsed on the South Side Roseland neighborhood field, a teammate said.

Davenport's family said they were told the impact and timing of the catch sent him into cardiac arrest, but autopsy results on Thursday were inconclusive, according to a Cook County Medical Examiner's Office spokesman. Further blood testing will be conducted to determine cause of death, the spokesman said, but that testing could take six to 10 weeks.

The boy was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center at 6:11 p.m Wednesday, officials said.

“Everybody was shocked,” teammate Howard Richmond said of the incident at Fernwood Park on South  Wallace. “Even when they had him in the ambulance, everybody was surrounding the [vehicle] to see if he was OK.”

Having started the game at shortstop, Maurice was switched to the outfield because he was one of the few players able to catch the hits of the strong Marcus Garvey School batters, teammates said.

Maurice’s school, Garrett A. Morgan Elementary, has just organized a softball team and this was its debut.

Maurice, also Morgan’s best football player, was looking forward to playing football at Bowen High School, where his cousin and mentor, Booker Hatcher, was an assistant coach.

“He was the kind of guy when you say he can’t do something, he liked to prove you wrong,” Hatcher said. “If a coach told him to run through a wall, he would do it. . . . He always gave his best. He was a very hard worker.”

Since age 7, Maurice, along with several other siblings, had been reared by his mother’s aunt, Deborah Hatcher, and lived in the family's home on South Parnell Avenue.

“We ... were going out there to have fun,” Maurice's friend Antwon Hurdle  said. “Every game that I play, I will think of him.”


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