Dust devil-like wind damages Avon batting cages; 8-year-old escapes injury

Two batting cages were damage at an Avon, Indiana, baseball field by what looked like a dust devil on June 14, 2017. (WISH Photo)

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — A typical summer afternoon nearly took a dark turn in Avon Wednesday.

Video sent to WISH-TV shows what looks like a dust devil tearing through a baseball complex and a couple hundred kids and parents running for cover.

Fortunately no one was hurt. But two batting cages were destroyed, totaling $10,000 in damage. Cleanup on Thursday took six hours at the Avon Junior Athletic Association baseball field to clean up the tangled batting cages. The park is going to stay open, with none of the fields sustaining any damage and no one hurt in the end. But still it was a scary scene and a big financial hole to fill now.

Eight-year-old Case Bridge was ready to face a fastball in the batting cage; instead, he faced something much scarier.

“It looked like a tiny tornado about to go up but it started on the ground,” he said.

What looks like a dust devil headed right for him. Dirt and rocks flying all around him.

“When the rocks hit me I got a huge headache and I feel like I got the wind knocked out of me,” he said.

Fortunately, Case ran away, narrowly missing the destruction.

“My dad told me Case 1, tornado 0,” he said. “I’m just happy I didn’t get hurt or anything.”

Battered and twisted aluminum pipes and several hundred pounds of mats flew.

“It was just a weird situation; it came out of nowhere,” said Deena Albin, the operating manager at the athletic association.

The debris struck nearby cars.

“We haven’t had anything remotely close to this happen,” she said.

Insurance should cover most of the damage, but the organization, giving thousands of Hoosier kids an outlet to play sports, needs to come up with much-needed money.

“You can imagine, with that big of an organization, we do have a lot of expenses,” Albin said.

But most importantly, a tragedy avoided, and everyone can come back out to play ball.

“Very, very thankful he was not hurt and no one else was hurt. It could’ve have been really bad,” she said.

She said Wednesday’s near-tragedy served as a learning experience for the organization. Right now there aren’t any signs that are prominent to tell people where to go or how to act if severe weather hits. That is going to change very soon.

If you want to help out the athletic association with the costs to fix the batting cages, click here.


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