Two members of the baseball team at LaGrange College in Georgia were killed in a car crash Saturday night, hours after the team qualified for the NCAA Division III championship tournament.
Jacob Brown, 19, from Duluth, Ga., and Stephen Bartolotta, 18, from Palm City, Fla., were first-year students at the small college 60 miles southwest of Atlanta. Brown had pitched that afternoon in LaGrange’s 10-to-7 home-field victory over North Carolina Wesleyan College to win the USA South Conference tournament championship.
Three vehicles were involved in the crash in Troup County, Ga., where the city of LaGrange and the college are located. Brown and Bartolotta were the only people in one of the vehicles and were pronounced dead at the scene. Another driver, Rico Dunn, 24, was also killed, Georgia State Patrol officials told Atlanta’s WAGA-TV.
LaGrange president Susanna Baxter and campus chaplain Adam Roberts organized a gathering for students, faculty and staff members Sunday in a campus assembly hall. “We’re just trying to help our students work toward processing some really, really hard news … it was a chance to express emotions so that the kids can begin to get some of that out there,” LaGrange spokesman Dean Hartman told WAGA.
“We will walk through this together as a campus family with God as our strength. Please support one another as the caring community that I know we are,’’ Baxter wrote in a letter to the campus community.
LaGrange’s first game in the NCAA tournament is scheduled for Friday. No announcement was immediately made on whether the game would still be played or if LaGrange would participate.