OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A Marion County family was celebrating an early birthday for their 8-year-old son Saturday at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, when a bat flew into the stands and nearly hit the boy in the face.
Pittsburgh Pirates player Danny Ortiz lost grip of his bat during a swing.
The bat almost hit Landon Cunningham in the face, but his father, Shaun Cunningham, threw up his hand and shielded the boy’s face.
“Realizing it was coming for us and specifically him, and really all I could do was throw my arm in the way,” said Cunningham, who works as a paramedic.
Landon was sending pictures of the game to his mother and sister, who went shopping instead of watching the game.
Pittsburgh Tribune sports photographer Chris Horner caught the dad’s quick moves on camera and the pictures have since gone viral.
“The pictures scare me a little bit because of how close it came to my face,” said Landon.
“The barrel of the bat hit my wrist, when that happened I guess it deflected and spun it and the handle got him in the shoulder, which, I'll take that over the alternative,” said the boy’s father.
Shaun's wrist was hurt and the bat hit Landon’s shoulder.
Both walked away uninjured and the boy got to keep the bat.
Many have called Cunningham a hero.
“Honestly, I didn't have a whole lot of time to think about it. It was dad mode, you know, protecting my son so I just did what I could,” said Cunningham.
“He is he is my hero, he's the most amazing dad ever,” Landon said.
Cox Media Group