Softball team erects memorial in honor of former teammate

NEW MANCHESTER-Former softball teammates of Kaylin Rice, one of three Oak Glen High School students killed in a car crash in January, have erected a memorial in the girl’s honor behind the left-field fence of the Field of Dreams.

Family, friends and softball teammates of Kaylin gathered at the softball field on Sunday for a brief memorial service and dedication ceremony. Among them were Kaylin’s mother and stepfather, Cris and Dave McCartney, and father and stepmother, Bill and Gina Rice.

Presiding at the service was the Rev. Mike Direnzo and his wife, Cassie, of Everyday Church in New Manchester. The couple gave Kaylin’s parents butterfly ornaments and paver stones to symbolize faith and hope.

A southern magnolia tree, donated by ServiceLink, and a bench, made by John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center students Neil Allison, Aaron Clark and Cody Wishon, were dedicated at the memorial.

The ceremony concluded with the release of dozens of blue and gold balloons and remarks by softball coach Morgan Martin, who encouraged players to return to the memorial often.

Kaylin, 16, of Chester, died Jan. 18 after a car she was a passenger in crashed on state Route 8. Also killed were Kristyn Butcher, 16, of Newell, and John Emmett Snow III, 16, of New Cumberland.