A rare meeting took place Friday morning in Saint Viator’s administration office, between the starting catcher on the boys’ freshmen baseball team and the father of an opposing player from Benet Academy.
While these types of meetings usually result from a scuffle or poor sportsmanship during the heat of the moment, this meeting had a different outcome.
“Frank, you’re made out of the right stuff,” Jim Trauscht told freshman Frank Saverino. “When you do something right, you should be rewarded.”
Trauscht made a special trip to Saint Viator to present Frank with a gift certificate and to personally thank him for attending to his son, who had collapsed at the plate after being struck in the face by a foul ball — that had careened off his own bat.
“He drilled it off the barrel of the bat,” Trauscht said, “and it came back and hit him right in the eye.”
Luckily, Matt Trauscht was wearing protective goggles, but the force of the hit caused deep lacerations above and below his eye and heavy bleeding. The blow caused him to collapse, his coaches said, and he covered his face with his hands.
What happened next, the Benet coach said, he will never forget.
“Your freshmen catcher, knelt down beside Matt, reached out and grabbed his hand,” says Michael Kazlauskas, head coach of the Redwings. “By the time I arrived to the plate, Frank was speaking to Matt trying to keep him calm.”
“He was instructing him to breathe and assuring him that he would be OK,” Kazlauskas added, “saying that it was simply a cut and that his eye was fine.”
Matt was eventually carted off the field and rushed to the hospital, where he received several stitches to the wounds.
“Your diagnosis was spot-on. It was just a cut, there were no fractures,” Trauscht said. “You gave me the comfort I needed. When I got there and saw all the blood, I needed to hear that. One day, you’ll be a father and you’ll understand.”
Frank pointed to his cousin and uncle who are paramedics, as well as his father, who is a former police officer, as role models. He also pointed to his first aid training and CPR certification obtained through physical education classes at Saint Viator. He added that he hopes to become a paramedic, that is, if he doesn’t make it as a professional athlete.
Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal, observed the meeting and thanked Trauscht for coming, noting that as players for rival schools in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, the incident could have had a different outcome.
“This is what Catholic education is all about,” Mrs. Manno said. “We hope we’re teaching students about life and serving others, that it’s more than the competition on the playing field.”