A World Series minor leaguer who seriously injured his head when he fell from his top bunk in a dormitory at the World Series complex has had a FaceTime with his coach and continues to improve, the coach said Friday.
Mark Enns, manager of Snow Canyon, Utah, said he told his 12-year-old player, Easton Oliverson, that he loved him, and Easton said he loved the coach back.
“It was great to hear his voice,” Enns said.
Easton was recovering in the hospital after Monday’s crash. His MRI Wednesday night came back normal, he started walking and went to the bathroom Friday morning, Enns said.
“I’m not familiar with the process of recovering from an injury like that,” Enns said. “But he is definitely getting better and the family wanted to let everyone know that they appreciate the thoughts and prayers and feel that the prayers are working.”
Enns spoke to reporters hours before Utah, which represents the Mountain Region, played its first game of the tournament against Tennessee from the Southeast Region.
With Easton’s condition improving so quickly, his father Jace returned to the dugout to resume his role as an assistant coach. In addition, Easton’s younger brother Brogan was added to the team.
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“You’re only allowed to have 14 on the list,” Enns said. “We had 13 and we were able to get Easton Brogan’s younger brother to come and be with our team, so he arrived yesterday. The family is very excited. I think it’s going to be really important for the family in terms of the recovery process to have Brogan around.”
Easton remembered during the warm-up. Utah didn’t send a fielder to Easton’s position, and Tennessee took the field wearing Utah’s caps.
During his pregame introductions, Brogan received a standing ovation from the large crowd at Lamade Stadium. As Utah received commemorative medals for participation, Jayce received Easton’s medal on his behalf to a standing ovation.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brogan’s pinch hit drew a standing ovation from the entire stadium that lasted about 30 seconds. Following the 10-year-old, he again received a standing ovation from the fans as he returned to the dugout.
“It gives you a good feeling that people can root for an opponent like little Brogan,” Enns said. “Even when you’re playing against them, there are things bigger than baseball.”
Utah lost 11-2, but even after the loss, the coaching staff and parents worked to get their players focused on the upcoming games and enjoy the Little League World Series.
“They, being children, recover quite quickly. They loved it here and stayed busy,” Ens said. “It was definitely more stressful for the parents, but the kids are doing great.”