COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Tonight, a local softball team is taking the field at Berliner Sports Complex with heavy hearts after four of their teammates died in a car crash over the weekend.
It happened in Panama City, Florida around midnight on Saturday. The “Xtreme” softball team was playing there in a tournament.
The Florida State Highway Patrol says a truck driven by Cody Shirah didn’t stop at a stop sign and crashed into the side of the van the players were in.
Four players died from their injuries, including Anthony Gouge, William Gouge II, Joshua Martin and Eric Young.
“They’re gone. It’s like, no… not them,” says Rebecca Ackerman with tears in her eyes.
Ackerman says the softball team is like a big family. She’s been their unofficial photographer for five years now.
“I was very honored to be able to capture some of those moments,” she says.
She’s putting some images together to give to her friends, the grieving wives, girlfriends and children of the men who died.
“They’ll always know that their guys loved this sport, they really did,” Ackerman says. “You could see it in the way they played. They just put everything into it.”
She read from a paragraph she wrote, celebrating the lives of the four men they lost.
“There is pain and anger. Tears and hugs. Sadness and joy,” Ackerman says. “They will forever be in our hearts and never forgotten. Fly high gentleman and watch over us as we play the sport you love so much.”
Florida Highway Patrol has not yet determined if alcohol contributed to the cause of this crash.
There are GoFundMe campaigns set up for Young, Martin and Team Xtreme: