Family sues H&B over aluminum bat dangers

Rick Redman
Rick Redman

By Jackie Hays - bio | email 
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An interesting case is in court right now questioning if aluminum bats should be banned from baseball. A Montana family is suing the maker of Louisville Slugger for the death of their son.

18-year-old Brandon Patch died after he was hit in the head with a baseball that was hit off of an aluminum bat. His parents claim Louisville-based Hillerich & Bradsby knew the dangers.

On July 25, 2003, Brandon hurled a pitch toward home plate from the mound. After the ball was hit, Brandon was struck on his temple by a line drive. He died five hours later from a blood clot on the brain.

Experts clocked the ball hit by an aluminum bat at 99.8 miles per hour. The lawsuit against Hillerich & Bradsby, the makers of Louisville Slugger aluminum baseball bats, claims the company made the aluminum bat to hit a ball with extreme force and should have warned people it was dangerous. Rick Redman, H&B vice president for corporate communications, said that's not the case.

"What happened on that baseball field in Montana in 2003 was a terrible accident. That's what it was a terrible accident," said Redman.

However, the Patchs' attorney argued in front of the jury that Brandon's death was preventable, not a freak accident. He said with a ball hit at that speed, Brandon did not have enough time to get his glove in place after the pitch to protect himself.

But Louisville Slugger attorney Rob Sterup says the ball did not leave the aluminum bat any faster than it would a wooden bat. He argued that Brandon's death was an accident, not the fault of the bat.

"Of course, this case is underway in Montana and we are confident in the case we are presenting," Redman said.

Brandon's coach testified he did not notice anything unusual about the hit. Testimony is expected for a few more days. The jury could get the case sometime next week.

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