McHenry County College and Illinois Valley Community College were supposed to enjoy a baseball doubleheader on a nice fall day Sunday afternoon.
The mood turned somber, however, when the second batter in the opener ripped a line drive into the MCC dugout that struck Scots coach Jared Wacker in the head. Wacker apparently did not lose consciousness but was dazed and taken to Centegra Hospital-Woodstock.
From there, he was airlifted to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Rockford, where he remained in a room near the intensive care unit Monday afternoon.
Wacker was hit just above the temple and lowered himself to the dugout floor. An ambulance was called immediately.
“It was scary. It was an eerie feeling,” MCC center fielder Nick Samuels said. “It was hard to get back focused on baseball. Everyone felt terrible. Every single inning we were trying to get updates.”
Wacker’s father went with his son and texted updates to assistant coach Jim Herendeen, who took over for the rest of the doubleheader.
Samuels said Wacker was able to walk to the ambulance.
“Our dugout’s on the first-base side and it was a left-handed hitter, so he pulled it into our dugout,” Samuels said. “That’s scarier that way because he hit it harder.”
Amy Wacker, Jared’s wife, was texting Reynolds with updates Monday. Wacker was diagnosed with a skull fracture and doctors told his wife a blood clot had formed. No surgery was performed, and Amy said doctors indicated that Jared was lucky and could be much worse off than he is.
“They hope he’ll be able to come home later this week,” Reynolds said.
Wacker had worked several years at MCC as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach in 2012. The Scots were 35-20 that season and won the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. MCC was 40-12 last spring and was Skyway runner-up.