By Jack McCarthy
A 12-year-old Oswego boy, described as a “ray of sunshine” by a neighbor, died after he was hit by a ball while practicing before a traveling league baseball game in Wheaton this week, officials say.
Eric Lederman, of Oswego, was playing catch with another player on Wednesday when the ball hit his neck, according to Kristine Liptrot, spokeswoman for Oswego Community Unit School District 308, where Eric was a sixth-grader.
Eric was taken to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, then transferred to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he was pronounced dead at 8:04 p.m. Thursday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Eric was playing on the Oswego Panthers traveling team, officials said. Counselors were being made available at Thompson Junior High School, where Eric attended classes and where his mother works. Eric was a member of the school’s wrestling team.
“The entire Thompson community is saddened to learn of the sudden death of a Thompson sixth grade student,” said Principal Tracy Murphy. “The mother of this student is also a member of the Aramark staff at Thompson. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family.”
In a release from the school, Brian Zacker, the coach of Eric’s team, said the 12-year-old had played with the Oswego Baseball & Softball Association in-house league for two years before playing with the organization’s traveling team for the last three years. Wearing uniform No. 2, he primarily played catcher, third base, and centerfield.