Wildcats Pay Tribute

Drew Potter, Reporter

On May 7, senior Devin Riley passed away. Many people, including his family, his friends, and his teachers, were affected by his loss. During the days at school, after his passing, Devin was honored in various ways including people decorating his parking spot in the senior lot, posting memories of him, and making posters for his family. 

Devin was a former member of the varsity baseball team for one year. Although he decided not to play his senior year, he was still honored throughout the team. On May 8, the baseball team was hosted by James River. The high school team’s only reason to win that day: Devin. Before the game started, both James River and Rockbridge teams met in center field as one and prayed together. The prayer was led by senior John Austin of James River. Then, before the National Anthem, a moment of silence was held in remembrance for Devin. The entire team put wrist tape on and wrote “DR #18” on the tape. The team also put decals with “DR #18” on their helmets.

During the game, senior Derek Smith, a great friend of Devin, wore the number 18: Devin’s baseball number during his time on the team. Smith had everyone on the team sign a ball for Devin’s family. 

“I’m really gonna miss Devin, seeing him everyday was awesome and I’m gonna miss that too. Devin’s passing has inspired me to play my hardest from now on during games. I’m cherishing every moment I had with him and bringing back the good memories that we had together,” said Smith. 

The game went well for the team. They ran up four runs in the top of the first inning. James River bounced back a few runs but the Cats held their lead throughout the game. Few errors were made in the field, the team had two mishaps with covering a bunt. The team hit well during the game. 

In the last inning of the game, there were two outs and a ground ball was hit to the pitcher. The runner was called safe. The next hit right after was to Derek, #18, which ended the game with an 11-4 win over James River. That play showed that that game was more than just a game. It was a remembrance of Devin and showed that there was someone watching over the baseball team that night. 

Back home, the junior varsity (JV) baseball team hosted James River. JV won 10-3 over James River. The JV team put eye black on their face with both of Devin’s numbers from football, 60, and baseball, 18.

Once the team arrived back at the school, some of them went out to buy some things that Devin enjoyed. These things included sunflower seeds, Mountain Dew, and (he didn’t really care for these) flowers. These items were left as a memorial for Devin.

The team all drank Devin’s favorite drink, Mountain Dew, for themselves. Devin always had one on him in his back pocket. The teammates all toasted to Devin and drank their Mountain Dew. All of those players plan to keep the bottle in remembrance for Devin. 

For the remainder of the season, the team is going to wrap their wrists with the same writing and also keep the decals on the helmet for as long as they last.  

They plan to win for Devin.