NewsLocal News


Pony League District All-Star players wear number 8 in honor of drowning victim

Pony League 8.jpg
Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 14, 2024

PORTLAND, TX — Many young athletes are grieving the loss of one of their own, Jeremiah De Leon Smith.

It’s been hard on Corpus Christi, Pony League Coach Nick Hernandez. He showed KRIS 6 News the stickers made in honor of Smith.

"It's a little bit better than a regular stick. He got the #8 and the orange bulldog, which is the Orange Grove,” Hernandez said.

Standing at 6 feet tall, 13-year-old Jeremiah De Leon Smith played first baseman for the Orange Grove Pony League team.

Other baseball players around Jeremiah’s age remember him well.

"I played against him. He's really good and athletic,” baseball player Jax Melendez said.

His fellow players say Jeremiah’s loss was a surprise and tragic.

As we first reported on June 3, emergency crews pulled the teenager from Lake Corpus Christi.

Pony League 8b.jpg

A spokesperson for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Jeremiah and four others were on a boat running without a motor. According to the spokesperson, all jumped into the lake, but only Jeremiah did not resurface.

"It was really sad. Apparently, he's been playing forever since t-ball that he's been playing for Pony,” baseball player Landen Lippen said.

Coach Hernandez said the baseball community wanted to show their support by honoring Jeremiah and his love for the game.

"Every player will be given a sticker. We passed a lot of them out to the coaches, and they'll talk to the kids about what it's about. The symbolism and the meaning behind it,” Hernandez said.

Standing together during hard times. Hernandez wants young players to see the sticker as more than just that but a way to say Jeremiah, is still a part of their family.

"I know that my son will remember Jeremiah every time he puts on his helmet,” Hernandez said.

Jeremiah’s teammates on the Orange Grove Pony League Team will play on Saturday.

All plan to wear the #8 for their friend.