Porterville baseball player killed in crash remembered

FRESNO, Calif.

18-year-old /*Tyler Curry*/ of Porterville died after his vehicle crashed into a big rig Friday evening.

Curry was a pitcher for Porterville College's baseball team.

At the time of the accident, he was on his way to Tulare to watch his former teammates from Monache High School.

He didn't make it to that game, but Monday afternoon his friends played just for him.

With Tyler Curry's old jersey hanging in the dugout and his initials on their helmets, members of the Monache Marauders baseball team took on Redwood High School Monday night.

It seemed everywhere you looked there were reminders of the team's loss.

"This is his life. Its what he loved to do. That's why we are out here. We are here to play for him," former teammate Steven Alba said.

The 18-year-old died Friday after the CHP says he failed to stop at a rural Tulare County intersection and his vehicle was hit by an oncoming semi. A friend remains hospitalized.

Curry was a college freshman and played relief pitcher for the Porterville College Pirates, but as a high school student his former coach said he could do it all.

"The type of kid who could run and bunt and do all those things that coaches love. Just the type of kid that we loved to coach, because of his energy, enthusiasm, hustle. Things he would do, he was always a team player," coach Anthony Gale said.

Former classmates say baseball was his thing, but he was also known for his constant smile and positive energy. Then there were the quirks - friends paid tribute to his love of Pepsi and Pop Tarts.

"For me personally he had so much faith in me, that I didn't even have that much faith in myself," friend Ezra Rodriguez said.

As friends share memories, former classmates Ezra Rodriguez and Christina Martinez helped design hundreds of t-shirts to celebrate Curry's life based on what may have been his favorite shirt.

"Something we all remember him by. He would always wear this shirt. We were talking about this earlier - it seemed like he didn't wash it. He would wear it all the time," Martinez said.

Back on the baseball diamond Monday, the Monache Marauders focused on more than a win. As it turned out they got one anyway, dedicated to their former captain who impacted so many lives on and off the field.

Curry's passenger remained in the hospital Monday night.

Meanwhile, his teammates from Porterville College are on spring break this week and tomorrow they will meet for the first time to grieve as a team.

Counselors will be available at both the college and Monache High School to help students deal with the loss.

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