A growing number of high school softball players on Long Island and nationwide are choosing to wear a protective face mask to guard themselves from the serious injuries that result from getting hit in the face with a batted ball so close to home plate.
Kat Fennell, a junior pitcher at Westhampton, was hit by a liner two years ago and suffered a concussion that sidelined her for a month. She has worn a face mask ever since and admits that her interest in softball has diminished as a result.
Sophmore and varsity softball team pitcher Haley Lomax wears a protective face mask during a game against Connetquot High at Central Islip High School on May 9, 2017.
MacArthur High School junior Jess Budrewicz pitches for the school's softball team during a game against New Hyde Park Friday, May 12, 2017 at MacArthur in Levittown. She gladly wears a face mask when she pitches.
Islip pitcher Julia Pastrana, who wears a protective mask during games practices her throwing on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at Wing Elementary School.
Islip second baseman Giana Edwards, who wears a protective mask during games, fields some hits on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at Wing Elementary School.
Freshman and varsity softball team pitcher Autumn Chapman wears a protective face mask during a game against Connetquot High at Central Islip High School on May 9, 2017.
Massapequa pitcher Addie Jackson went the full 8 innings in the Nassau Class AA softball semifinals in Long Beach on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Massapequa evened the series 1-1 with a 7-5 win.