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Boy, 8, hit during Rohnert Park baseball game remains hospitalized

An 8-year-old Rohnert Park baseball player remained hospitalized Monday, under observation since his collapse Saturday after he was struck in the chest by a pitch.

The boy was expected to remain at Oakland Children's Hospital at least through Monday. Doctors are continuing to conduct tests and monitor his progress, said Aaron Johnson, family spokesman and director of baseball operations for Rohnert Park Cal Ripken Baseball.

The batter was hit Saturday at Colegio Vista Park in Rohnert Park during an afternoon game between the Blue Jays and the A's.

Johnson, who also is a Rohnert Park Public Safety sergeant, declined to identify the boy. Facebook postings have named him as Matthew Henry.

The boy's parents are declining media interviews, Johnson said.

"What they told me to tell the media, is they want the community to know the Farrens are absolute heroes in their eyes," said Johnson.

Dan and Susan Farren, parents and paramedics, were in the stands when they saw the boy take a pitch to his chest. The boy took a few steps toward first base and dropped.

The Farrens rushed to him and began CPR, keeping his heart going until public safety officers arrived with a defibrillator.

Johnson said the boy's heart didn't stop, but was knocked out of its normal rhythm to an unsustainable rhythm.

The young pitcher who hit the boy has taken it hard, said Johnson, who has been in contact with his family.

"He's doing better. Every time he hears his friend is getting better, it takes the burden off of him a little bit," Johnson said. "A pitcher's biggest fear is hitting someone."

A board meeting is set for Monday night for the baseball league. Johnson said one topic will be player safety and the possibility of getting a defibrillator to keep at the snack bar.

Johnson hoped the boy's story could be a catalyst for all youth sport league officials to consider getting the heart-starting medical equipment.

"Hopefully this prompts some (automatic external defibrillators) in snack bars," he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.

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