WENATCHEE, WA – With a game that held so much on the line for so many other teams outside Wenatchee last night, the contest at Paul Thomas, Sr. Field really mattered not. It was a reminder that sport can sometimes not find the light through the shrouds of darkness. You’ll forgive the AppleSox if their minds weren’t on baseball as the home nine took on Corvallis in the final game of the regular season. That’s because they were mourning the unexplained death of a teammate. Tommy Watanabe had gone home early after pitching just three games for the AppleSox this summer due to an injury. He was home in Sacramento, California when he apparently went to bed Friday night, and never woke up. He was to be a junior at the University of Nevada Reno this fall. As a pitcher for the AppleSox, he appeared in three games. But Kyle Krustangel penciled him in as the starter for last night’s game against Corvallis. Wenatchee’s public address announcer Ian Dunn spoke during a brief ceremony before last night’s game.
“Ladies and gentleman, we ask that you rise to recognize a moment of silence. This past weekend our community, the baseball world, and the Wenatchee AppleSox suffered a tragic loss with the unexpected passing of Tommy Watanabe. Tommy, a Sacramento native, was an AppleSox pitcher from the College of San Mateo and was headed to the University of Nevada, Reno this fall. He played with the AppleSox this season through July 22nd. Our hearts are heavy with sorrow as we gather tonight as a family to remember a young man, a teammate and brother that means so much to all of us. We shall keep him, his family and all who know him in our hearts forever. Please bow your head and reflect with a moment of silence…”
Corvallis won the game 12-1. But you’ll forgive the AppleSox if their minds were far from baseball last night.