Hero Braves dad says he 'just reacted' to flying bat

Pittsburgh photographer Chris Horner captured this image of bat flying toward young Braves fan during Saturday's game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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Pittsburgh photographer Chris Horner captured this image of bat flying toward young Braves fan during Saturday's game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Landon Cunningham was seated a few rows behind the Braves' dugout Saturday, celebrating his 8th birthday, when a bat flew off the hands of Pittsburgh outfielder Danny Ortiz.

The bat hurled into the crowd, coming within inches from young Landon's head.

It never reached the young Braves fan's face.

The barrel smacked  his dad's the massive forearm, twirled away, the handle catching Landon on the shoulder.

In an instant, Shaun Cunningham, a firefighter from Ocala, Fla., became an Internet hero. Images by Pittsburgh photographer Chris Horner of Cunningham's quick thinking went viral on social media.

But Cunningham is taking his newfound celebrity in stride.

"I was just protecting my son," Cunningham, 37, told the Pittsburgh's Tribune-Review. "There wasn't a lot of time to think about it. I just reacted.

“I'm a little bruised, but I'll survive. I've been through worse.”