The Bishop Moore baseball team is headed to the regional finals, but they didn't get there without heavy hearts.
The Hornets honored the life of their teammate Joe Skinner who passed away Saturday following a battle with a rare form a leukemia.
Twenty-four balloons, signifying his jersey number were released to the sky. Joe’s parents Scott and Judy were presented with a shield crafted by the Orange County Fire Department. All of this prior to the Hornets regional semi-final game against Lake Highland Prep.
"It’s been pretty tough, our community is here, it’s been an epic battle, he fought all the way," said Bishop Moore head coach Tony Mehlich. "That’s what we’re continuing to do for him and for our program."
The Hornets downed the Highlanders 3-1, with the image of Joe’s senior picture looking on from the scoreboard of the football field all night long.
"Throughout the game I went into the dugout, touched his locker, and was like this one’s for you," said senior catcher Eric Forbrick. "I knew he was with us, you could tell by the crowd, the energy, you could tell he was riding over us."
"They put that picture up at about 6:00 and we were all fired up since then," said senior Mikey Giordano who pitched 4 innings of shutout ball. "Every single time you take a peek over there at the football field, you see it, you’re ready to go, I was ready to go all night."
The night and season don’t end here for the Hornets.
"The story has always been one more, do it for Joe, Skinner Strong, if this hasn’t shown that we’re with Joe and we’re Skinner strong I don’t know what is," said Forbrick.
"Go win a state title for Joe, that’s exactly what we’re going to do," said Giordano.