Little Leaguers Pay Tribute to Kentucky Player Who Died at Age 10 Before Facing off in World Series
Before the first pitch on Saturday's Little League World Series game between Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Barrington, Rhode Island, the young baseball players representing New England took a few moments to honor the legacy of a former Kentucky player.
Mason Goodnight played on the Bowling Green team until he died from a rare form of bacterial meningitis in April 2017 at the age of 10.
Jef Goodnight, Mason's father, is one of the coaches for the Kentucky team. He told the Associated Press that his biggest wish when Mason passed was that he wouldn't be forgotten. His No. 11 jersey follows the team wherever it goes at the Little League World Series. And when Bowling Green faced off against Rhode Island on Saturday, before the first pitch, each member of the Rhode Island team paid their respects by running to the other team's dugout and touching it.
"We're so fortunate to be here, and we went over to his jersey and I prayed and then I gave his dad a handshake," Lucas Tanous, 11, who plays for Rhode Island, told ESPN. "It's just so sad, but we all touched his jersey because I bet he was such a nice kid."
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Jef told the AP that he looks at the young players on his team as "an extension of Mason."
"I love them with all my heart," he added. "I could never in a million years tell them how much they've helped me, because it's more than I've ever helped them."