A fourth-grader at East Elementary School in Long Beach died on Friday while playing in a Long Beach/Lido Little League Baseball game, school district and league officials said Sunday.
Counselors will be made available to students following the death of Lazar LaPenna, wrote Long Beach schools superintendent Jennifer Gallagher in a Saturday posting on the district's Facebook page.
Lazar was playing in a game at Point Lookout Park on Field 1 when he died, but the cause of his death was not related to a baseball accident or injury, said Long Beach/Lido Little League president Andy Hayes.
“The community is heartbroken,” said Hayes, adding that the boy was elated to have gotten a hit during the game.
Lazar loved baseball, which was apparent while watching him play, Hayes said.
His parents "and their extended families have been a huge part of the Long Beach community for generations. We are all mourning the tragic loss of Lazar together with them.”
Members of the LaPenna family could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday.
“This tragedy is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for students and staff, particularly for [those] who are close to this family,” Gallagher wrote. “All of our schools have a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel at difficult times such as this.”
The district declined to release additional details.
“Please continue to keep the LaPenna family, especially Lazar’s parents and siblings, in our thoughts and prayers,” Gallagher wrote.