On the biggest day of their athletic careers the entire Seton Catholic Central Saints baseball team paused to remember a former teammate who continues to be missed and continues to motivate his former teammates.  Following their 9-0 thrashing of Geneseo in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class  C championship game at Broome Community College on Saturday the Saints remembered.

They remembered former teammate Andy Donahue, Jr who was killed in a May, 2004 car crash just hours after he had pitched in his first varsity baseball game against Lansing.  That was in a Section 4 playoff game.  Later that day he got word that he had made his legion baseball team and was set to keep playing the game he loved.

But just hours later he was killed with Seton basketball standout Brad Conklin in an auto accident that snuffed out two young athlete's lives.  A tragedy that teammates and classmates remember all too vividly.

That's why during or after every team meeting at the conclusion of every game the Saints point skyward in honor and remembrance of their teammate.  According to Head Coach Jim Miller a prayer is said before each game in memory of Andy and Brad and former assistant football coach Bruce Singleton who lost his life in another auto accident. in 2011..

Few athletes will ever have the chance to be state champions.  Simple numbers show only five teams each year in New York State earn that honor. in baseball..  Picture for a moment a group of teenagers in celebration of this rare accomplishment.  A payoff for years of hard work and dedication.  For many the ultimate athletic experience in a lifetime. And then out of that celebration as they pose for the victorious team picture they remember.  An index finger pointed skyward....remembering their teammate.  A gesture of respect and love for the motivation that helped drive them to a state championship.

Parents and families are filled with pride at the achievements their young athletes have accomplished. But, they should be prouder still of the quality of person  they have as sons.  Bigger than any championship....they have never forgotten.