When South Torrance (Calif.) baseball star Jesse Esphorst Jr. was killed in a tragic hit and run accident earlier in 2017, Simi Valley Royal coach Dan Maye felt he and his team should do something to honor the late teen. The answer they came up with was at once both a bit disorienting, in some cases a bit uncomfortable, and truly touching.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Maye rounded up every uniform from Royal’s recent seasons with a No. 10 on the back. He then had the entire Royal team sport No. 10, despite the fact that some were donning pinstripes, others were wearing yellow and some featured green or white.
The symbolism was simple: Esphorst was No. 10 for South Torrance, so Royal would all be No. 10 for him.
The garish color scheme clashes apparently didn’t sidetrack Royal from a victory; the Highlanders topped South Torrance 2-0. The score was less important than the sentiment, however, as Royal players could connect with their South Torrance counterparts and help them process a bit of their grief, if only in a game-sized sample.
For it’s part, the South baseball program clearly was touched by the gesture.