Oley baseball players pay tribute to fallen teammate

EPHRATA, Pa. - The Oley Valley High School baseball team honored a fallen teammate on Friday.

They're playing in the district semifinal game in memory of Preston Rowe, who died in a car crash earlier this week. 

"Preston just lived for baseball and they know that this is what he would want, and he would want them here and just to give it their all," said Tim Rhoads, Oley Valley's athletic director.

The 17-year-old's family was there when they announced Preston as a starter and had a moment of silence in his honor.

"We've had our ups and downs over the last 48 hours," said Rhoads. "They've had a lot of team time together. We've had a lot of good talks with them, and they've learned a lot about life in the past 48 hours."

Boys on the Oley Valley baseball team all wore shirts in honor of Preston.

"Preston actually had a bet going on, going into districts, that if he had 150 re-tweets of his tweet, he would shave his beard into a mustache, so the front design is designed by the team," he said.

The 17-year-old was on his way home from baseball practice to shave his beard Wednesday evening when he died in a car crash in the 500 block of Oley Road in Ruscombmanor Township.

"Preston was one of those kids who was loved by everyone. You can always count on him to have a smile on his face," said Rhoads.

Students, most wearing maroon, Preston's favorite color, packed buses and made their way to the Ephrata War Memorial Field for the game.

"They're ready to play, and they're ready to do it for Preston," he said.

Preston Rowe memorial t-shirts, like the ones worn by his teammates, are being sold, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting his family. You can buy the shirts online through Schuylkill Valley Sports' website. The deadline to order is May 31.

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