Softball player saves teammate's life at senior tournament

Softball player saves teammate's life at senior tournament

PHOENIX, ARIZONA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 69-year-old softball player is saved by his teammate after suffering a heart attack in the middle of a game.

Kini Popo is a traveling team comprised of players from O'ahu, Maui, Kaua'i and Hawai'i Island.

17 of them made the trek to Phoenix earlier this month for the Winter World Series -- including Fred Entilla from Hilo.

"Halfway through the first game, I felt a little tired but I thought nothing of it cause I figured, I haven't been playing so I'm just trying to catch my breath. We went back on the field and the next thing I knew I was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital," said Entilla.
Entilla suffered a major heart attack and collapsed on the field.

"I think the scariest thing was when we heard: there is no pulse and that's when Bobby jumped in and proceeded to do CPR until he came back," said 70-year-old Butch Tenn, Kini Popo's coach.

"When it seemed like Freddy was gone, Bobby wouldn't give up. Bobby refused to give up. The rest of us were all standing there praying and Bobby was working as hard as he possibly could," said Kini Popo teammate, 70-year-old Jerry Hersh.

Bobby Damaso's 30 years of experience as a firefighter on O'ahu immediately kicked in as he started administering CPR.

"Oh, it seemed like eternity. It was like 7-8 minutes, 12 minutes and finally as I was compressing -- one time, I just popped his chest and he just gasped. He took a deep breath and I knew already that was a good sign," described 70-year-old Damaso.

Entilla was rushed to the hospital and has since undergone triple bypass surgery, but is expected to make a full recovery because of his friend.

"Thank you. I think I told him a thousand times when I was in the hospital," said Entilla.

For his role as pitcher and paramedic, Damaso was awarded MVP of the tournament.

"We did everything for Freddy. When we went into the huddle we'd yell for Freddy, we did everything and we just did our best and we ended up going undefeated and won the tournament," said Damaso.

"Bobby was not only MVP of our team, but as far as I'm concerned he was my hero and my MVP in life because he stepped up when a lot of others wouldn't or couldn't or didn't know how -- and there was never a moment of hesitation in what Bobby did," said Hersh.

"If the stars align that was the day," said Tenn. "Everybody in the right place at the right time. Even the EMTs came back and told Bobby he had saved his life."

Entilla says he's especially grateful this Thanksgiving to see another day.

"They said I was gone and I guess, you don't get too many second chances in life, right?" Entilla said.

Entilla was released from the hospital yesterday, but is still recuperating, so it'll be a few more weeks before he can return home to Hawai'i. He says he's looking forward to a reunion with his teammates as soon as possible.

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