This is so awful.
Vanderbilt University freshman baseball pitcher Donny Everett died in a drowning accident, just one day before his team’s first tournament game on their campus in Nashville, Tenn.
The 19-year-old pitcher was at Normandy Lake in Coffee County on Thursday when, just before 5 p.m. local time, sheriff’s deputies received a call of ‘a subject that had gone underwater.’
Everett was apparently fishing on a bridge over the lake with two teammates and two other friends, when all five people jumped in to swim across to the east side of the bridge.
Everett began asking for help, but all four other people apparently thought he was joking, since he didn’t seem to be in distress and didn’t appear to be struggling to swim.
By the time they realized he actually needed help, it was too late, according to a report from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department (below):
“One person did enter the water and pulled Everett several feet but stated that he is not a good swimmer and was struggling to stay afloat. He stated that Everett did not seem to be struggling. The friend stated that he let go of Everett and swam back to shore still thinking Everett was ‘joking.’ He stated that when he looked back, Everett had gone under and did not re-surface.”
Early this morning, the school released a statement about the tragedy on Twitter, saying:
Vanderbilt is scheduled to play their first NCAA Baseball Tournament game tonight at their home stadium against Xavier University.
As of now, that game will be played, according to school officials:
Tonight├óΓé¼Γäós game against Xavier will be played as scheduled at 7 p.m. at Hawkins Field.
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBaseball) June 3, 2016
Vanderbilt has a very good team; they won the college national championship in 2014, they were national runners-up last season, and they are expected to do big things this year in the tournament, too.
Everett, too, was to be a big part of that; the right-handed pitcher was thought to be a sure-fire first round draft pick selection last summer in the Major League Baseball draft, but he instead chose to attend Vanderbilt and play college baseball.
Now, sadly, that dream has been cut short.
Our thoughts are with Everett’s teammates, friends, family, and loved ones during this unimaginably difficult time.
[Image via John Russell/Vanderbilt University.]