OLEY TWP., Pa. - Saul Colon remembers Preston Rowe, a kid he's often seen stepping into the batter's box, except Colon wasn't watching from the stands. He was often his umpire.
"I woke up this morning and it was like, my heart just hurt," Colon said. "I just couldn't believe it."
Colon knew Preston and his brother, Payton, since they were little leaguers. He's also known their father for 25 years. He watched Preston grow up through baseball.
"If half the kids in this county would take baseball as serious as Preston did, I'd be umpiring 24/7," said Colon.
He said Preston played with heart, never holding his head low, and never complaining. Colon said his heart aches for the family after hearing the news of Preston's tragic death in a car accident in Ruscombmanor Township on Wednesday.
"I kept thinking to myself, 'It can't be. It can't be,'" he said.
To honor Preston's memory, Colon said he'll wear a patch on his umpire jersey with Preston's initials and Preston's number 8 while calling local games this weekend.
"He'll always be with me," said Colon. "Knowing him, he'll be on his brother's shoulder, telling him, 'Stay off the high pitch,' telling him, 'Get your glove all the way down on the ground,' when fielding a ball. That's the type of person I would expect Preston to be."
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