Cardinals pitcher bitten by bear while hunting: 'I'm very fortunate'

Dalton Roach of Springfield Cardinals, pic of bear that bit him
Photo credit (Provided by Dalton Roach)
By , NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

TREMPEALEAU COUNTY, Wis. - A pitching prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals is counting himself lucky after being bitten by a black bear that climbed up a tree he was bow hunting from.

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Dalton Roach, a 25-year-old righty who played for the Springfield Cardinals in his second season of professional baseball, told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram it was the first time he'd even seen a bear on the family-owned land he's been hunting on for years. Roach began taking video of the bear as it approached his tree, then decided to stop recording so he could be "hands-free."

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He could hear the bear slowly climb towards him sitting in a tree stand.

“The next thing I know I can hear him right behind me and feel him breathing on my back,” Roach said. “Then I feel a paw on my lap. He just kind of left the paw sitting there, so it’s not like I wanted to make a big move and make him squeeze.”

Then he felt a tight squeeze on his back and realized the bear was biting him. He quickly spun around and was face-to-face with the bear he estimated at 250 to 300 pounds. He yelled loudly and made himself as big as he could.

The bear did retreat after that and Roach went to the hospital to have the bite examined. He has a few puncture marks in the middle of his back from the bear and will undergo a series of injections of the rabies vaccines.

bite on back from bear
Photo credit (Provided by Dalton Roach)

He says the incident and injury will have no effect on his offseason training and baseball future.

“I’m very fortunate that this whole scenario went the way it did,” Roach said. “And now I have a heck of a story to tell.”

Dalton Roach and family
Photo credit (Provided by Dalton Roach)

Roach and his wife, Sarah, have a 15-month-old son. The family went to a pumpkin patch in Roach's hometown the day after the bear incident.

Last season, Roach was 7-10 with a 5.65 ERA in 114.2 innings for the Cardinals. He was signed by the Cardinals after playing for the River City Rascals in 2018-19 and became one of the best pitchers in the Frontier League.

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