WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Since April 11 the Wilmington community has been shocked and saddened by the passing of 11-year-old Alex Newsome.
The sixth grader died after he was struck in the head by a line drive during baseball practice at Roland Grise Middle School.
Hundreds packed Winter Optimist Park Monday night, where Alex used to play baseball, for a memorial service in his honor.
With tears in their eyes, friends and coaches share stories, memories, and celebrate his short life.
Alex's number 2 jersey hung front and center for all to see. Instead of flowers, players laid baseballs down on home plate in honor of their fallen teammate, and as a symbol of solidarity, the whole park pointed a finger to the sky to show this community is forever "Newsome Strong."
As hard as it may be, Alex's coaches said it's time to start the process of moving forward and finally getting back to baseball.
"Last week was tough. We all had the worst spring break ever," Doug Fisher, Alex's little league coach said. "But Alex doesn't like sadness. My son was friends with him and he said Dad, Alex is ready for us to be happy again."
Alex's travel team coach Kevin Gaylord, said the loss of Alex is now a part of what makes this team special, "It's important for his teammates to remember him and honor him," Gaylord said. "Alex loved this game and he would want us to play. He wouldn't want anyone else to miss out on this great sport on a count of him."
As a lasting tribute to Alex, hundreds signed three banners with messages and memories of Alex. One banner will be given to the Newsome family. The other two will remain at Winter Optimist Park for many seasons to come.
On Tuesday Ashley High School is hosting a food drive in Alex's name at their sports complex. Supporters are asked to bring canned proteins to the baseball fields starting at 6 p.m.
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