A Staten Island father filed perhaps one of the most sympathetic lawsuits of all time against the makers of a plastic T-ball bat, which apparently snapped apart while his 5-year-old son was playing with it, striking him in the face and leaving him with gruesome injuries that will scar him for life.

Mitchell Ducalo on Friday filed a $4.5 million lawsuit against Franklin Sports Inc. after its Adjust-A-Hit T-Ball set shattered while his 5-year-old son, Daniel, and his older brother were playing with the toy in the Ducalo's home in May. When Daniel's brother swung the bat, a chunk of the toy snapped off and shot into Daniel's face, leaving him with gashes on his nose and between his eyes that required 300 stitches.

The telescopic bat adjusts from 21 to 27 inches using a turn-and-lock motion. An attorney for the Ducalos argue that the toy should not include that feature.

"It's our position that the design of the bat renders it not suitable for its intended purpose," lawyer Gina Sgarlato told the Staten Island Advance. "This type of toy should not be made telescopically."

Amazon reviews indicate that the Ducalos are not the first family to have the toy splinter during use. "The adjustable bat broke after adjusting it about three times," wrote one dissatisfied user. "Soon the bat would move up and down without tightening. Eventually this led to the end of the bat flying off."

"We opened it for the first time yesterday and it broke while putting it together," wrote another. But some optimistic users refused to be dissuaded by the prompt destruction of the $36 toy: "My grandson loved it once it was fixed with the tape!!"