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Line Drive Hits And Kills Drillers Coach

A coach for the Tulsa Drillers was killed during a game Sunday night. He was hit on the head by a foul ball. Mike Coolbaugh, the Drillers hitting coach, was killed while the Drillers were playing in Little Rock. The Drillers and the Arkansas Travelers were in the ninth inning, when Tino Sanchez hit a foul ball just outside the first base line. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports witnesses said Coolbaugh barely had time to move before he was hit by the ball.

The Tulsa Drillers, in Little Rock, boarded the bus for home around midnight. They were stunned by the death of hitting coach Mike Coolbaugh. He was hit in the head by a line drive foul ball in the ninth inning of a game Sunday night.

"There was complete silence, and it remained that way,” said Travelers CEO Bill Valentine.

Medical help was on the scene immediately, but Coolbaugh was unconscious and not breathing. He was given CPR on the field and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Valentine said in 50 years of baseball he had never seen a coach hit by a ball.

"A wicked line drive, caught him in the temple,” Valentine said. “He dropped to the ground and never moved again."

Coolbaugh had only been coaching with the Drillers for a month, after a wrist injury ended his 17 years of playing mostly minor league baseball. He played 39 games with the Milwaukee Brewers and five games for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Coolbaugh was the hitting coach for the Drillers, during a game he would usually stand just off first base and give the players instant feedback when they made it to base.

“Hit the first base coach on the left side of his head, knocked him off his feet, and like a sack of bricks right to the ground,” said Travelers second baseman Ryan Leahy.

Coolbaugh was 35, married, with two children and his wife is pregnant.

A Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund has been set up at Spirit Bank in Tulsa on the 1800 block of south Baltimore Ave.

Watch the video: Driller Coach Dies After Being Hit By Foul Ball
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