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Tragic accident inspires team toward state championship

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Source: Lexington School District One Source: Lexington School District One

By Stephen Hooker - email

PELION, SC (WIS) - Baseball is more than a game to some in Pelion. It's a way of life.

18-year-old Cody Kyzer was no exception to that rule. Unfortunately, his diamond dreams ended tragically in late May when he died in a motorcycle accident. The Pelion High senior had just signed up to play college ball and was a week away from graduation.

His teammates are using his memory to inspire them toward a state championship.

"It's still hard to believe now," said player Taylor Jackson.

It's a story about the boys on the team, Pelion of the Dixie Majors, not the game. "They've got a lot of talent," said Cody's father, Mike Kyzer.

Yes, they're good, and they're now district champs. But what's got them fired up? It's a life event that would bring anyone else to their knees. "I've played baseball with him ever since eighth grade," said player Ken Smoak.

"I met him when I was 11, actually, out here at the ball park," said Jackson.

"Ever since they were playing in coach's pitch, all of them had grown up together," said Cody's mother, Robin Kyzer.

Robin is talking about the boys on the team and her son, Cody. He was killed in a highway accident six weeks ago. "It's hard to know that Cody should be out there playing and he's not," she said.

But instead of bringing the team down, "We've got inspiration from him to play and because he was a good ball player," said Coach Eddie Jeffcoat.

"Just to keep him in our hearts," said Jackson. "He's our tenth man on the field."

The team wears Cody's name and number.

"...second baseman drops the ball, run number five," said Mike. "In the tournament, they went 5-0.  The five, it just keeps popping up."

The last time Cody played was against Irmo. "We won 4-3 with the same score we won with last night," said Coach Jeffcoat. "So it's kind of, I don't know - fate maybe?" 

The memory of Cody is definitely moving the team. They're winning.

Who's next? It's Charleston and the playoffs for the state championship.

As for now, the team's fighting for something more earthly, fundraising for their hotel stay in Charleston.

If you want to help Pelion go to Charleston, you can contact the Pelion Athletic Program and ask for Rennie Poole. The number is 803-755-0942.

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