A fast-acting father at a Pirate's spring training game in Florida reached out his arm just in time to deflect a flying baseball bat headed for his son's face.

Shaun Cunningham said he took his 8-year-old son to Saturday's spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves in Bradenton and the boy was distracted by a photo he had just snapped when a bat flew out of Pirates outfielder Danny Ortiz's hands and into stands.

Cunningham reached out his arm to block the bat from striking his son's face and the moment was captured by photographer Christopher Horner.

Horner's photos also captured the direct aftermath and the look of shock on the face of the boy, who was grazed on the shoulder by the bat.

Cunningham said he suffered some bruising on his arm from guarding the boy's face.