Every once in awhile you come across stories that restore your faith in the game of baseball, this is one of those stories.
Meet Ryan Parra, a recently graduated high school senior from Sultana High School in Hesperia, California. Ryan played baseball for the Sultans, and showed one of the most valiant, selfless acts on a baseball field. The Sultans were making a run for first place in league, something they had not done since 2009. Parra was a starting outfielder with blistering speed and great fielding capability, and all that was shown on May 9th, at the Sultans’ home field.
With the Sultans opposition rallying to produce runners in scoring positions with two outs, the Sultans were backed into a corner. A high fly ball was hit into deep left center field, Ryan Parra (playing center) raced over to make a miraculous lunging catch at the wall. The problem was, he ran out of room. Parra lunged for the ball, making the catch that saved the Sultans two runs. As he lunged, he hit his face on the top of an unprotected chain link fence that stands just under five feet. With the collision Parra broke his jaw, along with a hairline fracture, a broken tooth, and a busted lip; an injury that would amount to 25 stitches along with his jaw being wired shut. When asked about what was going through his mind, Parra stated:
“Seeing the ball jump off The bat, I reacted immediately. The only thing I was thinking about was that I was going to catch the ball. As soon as I collided I went unconscious for around 30 seconds, until I woke up to the trainer sitting me up, wiping the blood off. When I woke up I asked if I caught the ball, Everyone said I did so I was astonished by that. I also was worried about my teeth, I was checking to see if I had any teeth left, luckily they were all there with the exception of one; breaking and losing that tooth”
RYAN PARRA WITH THE CATCH!!! WAY TO SELL OUT 💯!!! pic.twitter.com/Buaj2AkoEc
— Sultana High School (@SultanaHigh) May 9, 2016
After the incident the Sultans rallied for Parra, winning their last game to secure their bid as Mojave River League champions. The Sultans’ went on to win one CIF SS game, before being eliminated. The team got Ryan Parra’s number 3 sewed onto their hats in order to show support to the senior outfielder. Parra remembers hearing about his team’s clinching victory, stating: “Anesthesia makes you act funny, so when my dad told me they won I cried. It was emotional for me that the team did it because of me, but I knew that they were going to fight regardless.”
Nearly seven weeks ago Ryan Parra caught a fly ball that would eventually lead to his team taking home their first league title in seven years. Now, Parra is awaiting this Friday to get the wire in his jaw removed, finally being able to speak and eat solid foods nearly two months after the incident. Looking back on the incident, Parra’s main regret was not checking to see how close he was to the fence, to perhaps avoid the collision. In the end however, Parra states that he is “Glad it was [him] rather than anyone else on the team.”
For more pictures of the injury, and more importantly to wish Ryan luck on his road to recovery, follow him on twitter at @Parra13Ryan.