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New Jersey Family Pushes For Extended Netting At Minor League Stadiums

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LAKEWOOD, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — A 10-year-old New Jersey girl was out of the hospital on Thursday night, after being hit by a ball at a minor league baseball stadium.

The accident left her with a concussion, and left her family with a mission to keep others safe.

Claire Pavlinec cherishes every second with her 10-year-old daughter Alexis.

“It’s so scary to know she could have died. She could have been hurt so much worse. She could have not been the same child today just because we went to a ball game,” Pavlinec told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Alexis was hit by a ball on Sunday, during a Lakewood Blue Claws minor league baseball game. Unlike major league stadiums the concession stands in Lakewood are close to the field and open. Kids also run around in play areas.

Alexis was eating pizza when she was hit.

“My dad said ‘whoa.’ I turned around the ball hit my face,” she said, “I felt pain and I fell and everyone rushed to me.”

The girl was standing in the food court behind first base. There is no netting there like there is behind home plate.

“I want the Lakewood Blue Claw organization to take a stand and be the first minor league ball park to increase their netting,” Ken Pavlinec said.

The team, which is affiliated with the Phillies, said that it was saddened by Alexis’ injuries.

“The safety of our fans, players, and staff is of paramount importance, and we will continue to look into ways to best serve and protect everyone that comes to FirstEnergy park,” the team said in a statement.

There was no mention of expanding the netting.

A spokesperson said that there are signs all over the stadium warning fans that they could get hit by a ball or a bat. It’s even on the back of the ticket in small print, Alexis’ dad said they didn’t notice.

“When we look at sports today if you gotta tell me that the fan in the stands is more vulnerable than the batter I think there is a problem,” Ken Pavlinec said.

Alexis said that she will never go to another baseball game and that she is worried for other kids.

“I don’t want someone to get hurt or killed from a ball,” she said.

The family’s new mission is to get legislation that would force minor league stadiums to have netting all around their fields.

The family said that they have yet to receive an apology from the team but that they have received thousands of posts on their facebook page from other people who say they’re been hit by balls at the same stadium.

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