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It was a nail-biting night for Team Venezuela, who faced off against the United States in the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic. But as the game progressed in the fifth inning, disaster struck as their ace Second Baseman, Jose Altuve, took a 95.9mph fastball from Daniel Bard, right on his hand.

The eight-time All-Star fell to the ground, clutching his hand in pain, as the stadium fell silent. It remained unknown as to how severe the injury was, but Altuve was forced to leave the game soon after. With the game on a knife-edge, the sudden loss of such a crucial player deflated Venezuela’s spirits momentarily.

Altuve’s contribution to the game can’t be understated. As a career .307/.362/.468 hitter and a former AL MVP, his presence lends reassurance to his team. However, Venezuela rallied as a team and came back strong, eventually erasing the earlier deficit. It was a thrilling match, and the winner of the contest would advance to the semifinals.

It’s heartbreaking to see a player of Altuve’s caliber leave a game in that manner. The game must go on, but his teammates’ minds would have surely been with him. The result of the game had yet to be determined at the time of his dismissal, but fans all across the globe wish him a swift recovery.

As we wait for more news on Altuve’s injury, let’s not forget to appreciate these outstanding athletes for the dedication they display for the love of the game. After all, that is what sportsmanship is all about!