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Hours after winning conference championship, 2 college baseball players killed in crash

Freshman pitchers Stephen Bartolotta and Jacob Brown were both killed.

LAGRANGE, Ga. — LaGrange College is mourning the loss of two baseball players after a car crash on Saturday night.

According to a statement on the school's athletics page, Stephen Bartolotta and Jacob Brown were both killed. 

Georgia State Patrol said the crash happened around 9:15 p.m. Saturday and involved three vehicles. One other person was killed in the crash, according to GSP. The Troup County Coroner identified the third victim as 24-year-old Rico Dunn.

The news comes as an especially heavy blow to the team, as hours earlier they won their conference championship with a win over North Carolina Wesleyan, which earned them a spot in the NCAA Division III national tournament, according to a tweet from the school.

"To go from winning the conference title and then a few hours later to losing to teammates. I just don't think there are words to describe where they are right now," college spokesman Dean Hartman said.

"As we all work to process this tragedy please care for one another," College President Dr. Susanna Baxter said in a statement.

The school held an impromptu gathering at the college Sunday afternoon. 

“I knew them most from the baseball field and they were quite talented. But our students talked about the studying with them, the partnership, the dedication, the work ethic that they put out on the field but also in the classroom," Baxter said.

A water bottle sat on the mound Sunday evening. That's where the two young pitchers would have been practicing. The college's baseball field remained empty as the team remembered their two friends and teammates. 

“The team has to gather to decide if we're going to continue to play. It is too soon to ask those questions as to what they feel they need to do to work toward their healing process," Baxter said. "We will walk through this together as a campus family with God as our strength. Please support one another as the caring community that I know we are."

Panthers win! Men’s Baseball defeats North Carolina Wesleyan 10-7 to take the conference title and advance to the NCAA Div III national tourney. #LCPantherProud

Posted by LaGrange College on Saturday, May 14, 2022
Credit: LaGrange College
Stephen Bartolotta (left), Jacob Brown (right)

This is a developing story, we will continue to update as more information comes forward.

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