On Nov. 8, the Riverside City College fastpitch program held a memorial for former player, Afton Williamson, who died while star-gazing in Dickinson, ND.
The memorial was started by the fastpitch team doing their pregame prep chant whichWilliamson was a part of many times last season.
First to speak about Williamson was coach Michelle Daddona, she started her speech by calling a time out which she said she normally does as a coach.
Daddona gathered the whole team and coaching staff around the mound, where Williamson, a pitcher, would normally stand. There, they held a prayer.
Daddona’s best memories of Williamson were bus trips to the road games.
On one memorable bus trip, Williamson had to sing a song, she picked a rap song by Bow Wow which included the cussing words. Williamson rocked out with her iPod Daddona said.
Or when Williamson would join in the games with the rest of the team on the bus ride back home and fall asleep only to wake back up and join once again like she was never asleep, Daddona said.
Another memory Daddona has is in Game 3 at Fullerton, Riverside was down 2-1 with a runner on first base. Williamson hit a double to put them on second and third base, that would eventually be the hit that put the fastpitch team into the state finals.
Daddona concluded by saying Williamson gave back to the youth softball community by doing lessons and volunteering. Williamson understood the value of giving back to the sport through instructing youth.
Memories and thoughts were shared also by coach Jose Ortega and former teammates of Williamson from RCC and Paloma Valley High School.
The memorial concluded in honor of what Williamson was doing leading up to her death, as the lights shut out at the Evans Complex and everyone looked up to the heavens to become star-gazers.
Williamson was found dead along with two other teammates on Nov. 4 in a pond near Dickinson, ND.
All three drowned when they accidentally drove into a stock pond when they went star-gazing, a popular diversion for the college students in Dickinson.
Williamson, 20, had been missing along with Kyrstin Gemar, 21, and Ashley Neufeld, 22, when their bodies were found in their white 1997 Jeep Cherokee.
Williamson was a part of the 2009 fastpitch team who were the first team to reach the state finals before being eliminated in the double elimination tournament.
As a second-team all-league selection last season, Williamson pitched in 21 games and started in 16, had a record of 11-2, had an earn-run average of 2.46 and had 58 strikeouts.
The college and the fastpitch program will be retiring Williamson’s No. 9 RCC jersey and the fastpitch team will be wearing a No. 9 patch on their jerseys throughout next season.