An 8-year-old baseball player collapsed Saturday in Rohnert Park after being struck in the chest by a pitch, requiring CPR and a defibrillator to get his young heart going again.

The boy was breathing and conscious when he was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and later airlifted to Oakland Children's Hospital, said Aaron Johnson, director of baseball operations for Rohnert Park Cal Ripken Baseball.

The boy's condition benefited from the presence of two off-duty paramedics who immediately began CPR.

"God had his hand on this kid's heart," said Johnson, who also is a sergeant for the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.

Johnson declined to release the boy's name. Parents and others posting on the league's Facebook page named him as Matthew Henry.

The boy collapsed about 3:43 p.m. at Collegio Vista Park on Southwest Boulevard in a game between the A's and the Blue Jays. The teams' players range from 8 to 10 years old.

The boy was at bat when hit by a pitch. He took five steps toward first base and collapsed, Johnson said.

Johnson credited Dan and Susan Farren, parents and paramedics watching the game, for rushing to the boy and beginning CPR. Such action, he said, "takes over for the heart and continues to pump blood through his body and into his brain."

Public safety personnel soon arrived and used a defibrillator to restart the boy's heart. Before he left the field and was placed in an ambulance, the boy was breathing, had a pulse and was talking, Johnson said.

Johnson went to Memorial, where he said he found the boy "talking to his coach, asking about his game statistics."

Michelle Straub, a parent on the A's, the opposing team, expressed gratitude for the good outcome.

"It was a long 15 minutes for every parent on the field," Straub said.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale 521-5285 or