College Baseball Player Dies After Dugout Collapses In Harrisburg: Authorities

A 19-year-old college baseball player has died after an illegally built dugout seriously injured him, authorities told Daily Voice. 

Angel Mercado-Ocasio in his Central Penn Knights baseball team uniform.
Angel Mercado-Ocasio in his Central Penn Knights baseball team uniform. Photo Credit: Special to Daily Voice From Central Penn College (overlay); Google Maps (Street View)
Angel Mercado-Ocasio.
Angel Mercado-Ocasio. Photo Credit: Special to Daily Voice From Central Penn College
The 7th and Radnor Sports Park in Harrisburg.
The 7th and Radnor Sports Park in Harrisburg. Photo Credit: Google Maps (Street View)

Angel Mecardo-Ocasio of Harrisburg was hurt when the dugout collapsed on him at 7th and Radnor Sports Park in Harrisburg around 3 p.m. on Monday, May 22, 2023, according to City of Harrisburg Communications Director Matt Maisel. 

The teen was helping take down the structure after officials noticed it was built without permission, Maisel explained to the press. 

Mercado is a Central Pennsylvania Knights baseball player, but he was in the park as part of the Harrisburg International League baseball league, which is made up of students from multiple local schools– the team had permission to play on the field but did not have permission to build the structure, according to Maisel.

The team’s coach Gerardo Diaz performed CPR until he woke up and was taken to Holy Spirit Hospital—  where he died from a traumatic head injury with the manner of death as accidental, according to the Cumberland County Coroner's Office and Maisel.

You can check out Angel Mercaso-Ocasio's stats at Central Penn here and you can watch his final game for the college in the player below. 

Daily Voice has reached out to Central Penn College for comment about Mercado's passing and received the following statement from President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams:

"Our Central Penn College family is devastated by the loss of Angel. As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much.No words can adequately express our anguish.Our baseball team all said their good-byes to Angel yesterday and expressed their love to their brother. We will all be changed because Angel is no longer with us, but we will also be changed because he was.It is with heavy hearts that we offer our sincere sympathy to Angel’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, who will bear the burden of his absence most acutely.We as a community will come together to remember him, support each other and heal, and to live a life of purpose, because it can disappear in a second.We ask everyone to join us in praying for Angel, his family, his friends and his teammates, who are struggling right now to cope with the profound heartache that only comes with the loss of someone who was loved so much. Because of his beautiful name and his passion for baseball, many of us have reflected on the lines in the ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD movie: 'You’ve got to have faith.You’ve got to believe.You’ve got to look inside yourself.The footprints of an angel are love.And when there is love, miraculous things can happen.'Fly high, Angel."

Counselors are on campus to support students and staff at Central Penn College "during this time of tremendous loss and sadness affecting our community," school officals told Daily Voice in a follow-up email.

Harrisburg Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams has released the following statement on the passing of Angel Mercado-Ocasio:

“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Angel Mercado-Ocasio. Anytime someone passes, we lose a little bit of who we are. It hurts even more when it’s one of our own. Angel was our son; a proud Harrisburg Cougar, and a stand-out, promising young athlete. He died helping others around the sport he loved. It’s heart-wrenching. Angel embraced so many people and now we need to embrace his memory. We ask everyone in the community to pray for his family, his friends, and his teammates, as we get through this impossibly difficult time together. The City of Harrisburg would like to extend our sincere condolences and prayers to the family.”

City officials will finish removing the structure.

Funeral and memorial service details for the teen have not been released. 

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