Rogers County Ranger pitcher Matt Sparks must to a tough young man.

Playing in an American Legion baseball game Thursday night at Fayetteville, the hard throwing righthander was struck in the face by a batted ball.

"The ball came back at him so fast we didn't see it," Rangers pitching coach Jimmy Williams said. "it scared all of us because all of a sudden he is laying face down in the in the dirt."

The ball hit Sparks directly beneath his mouth. Since his arm had a red mark, the ball must have glanced off it before hitting his face.

Refusing to seek medical aid when it happened, Sparks returned home after the game. He was examined by a doctor Friday and was cleared to return to the team for Claremore’s Independence Weekend Tournament.

According to Williams, Sparks didn't want to leave the game after being hit. Starting against the Arkansas team, Sparks and the Rangers were leading, 6-0, at the time the time he was hit. He had yielded only two hits. Fayetteville came back and was on top, 9-6, going into the ninth. The Rangers scored four runs in the final inning.

Joe Edwards, statistician for the Rangers and father of outfielder Justin Edwards, drove Sparks back home from Fayetteville.

"Matt started feeling a lot better on the way back," Edwards said. "He made sure his girlfriend would come over to check on him once he was home."