Friday, June 1, 2007

49ers honor fallen teammate with win

There was another winner in the Charlotte 49ers' 6-3 baseball victory over N.C. State on Friday.
He wasn't on the field, but Eric Walker's presence was apparent in many other ways -- like the "E.W. 23" etched in the hats of Charlotte's players or simply by their performance.
Walker finished his four-year career with Charlotte last season as the 49ers' all-time leader in appearances (104) and saves (26). He died last fall in a canoeing accident. He had just turned 23 and had started what looked to be a promising pro career.
This year's current 49ers team was in the midst of fall workouts when word came one Saturday Walker was missing following the accident in Virginia. Even though Walker's eligibility had expired he was still around campus working to finish his degree and spent countless hours with his former teammates.
The 49ers have sought to honor Walker this season, dedicating the season to him. They have talked of their teammate when asked, but have not been overly public with their thoughts or feelings.
They have not needed to. They honor the memory of their teammate with the hard work they have put in all season. They have exceeded expectations and broken school records, both as a team and in individual performances.
In essence, they have honored Walker the best way they knew how -- playing the best baseball they can and taking the 49ers' program further than every before.
Friday's win meant many things, including this: So far, their job is far from done. -- Jim Utter


Anonymous said...

God rest you Eric Walker and your family. Peace be with you.


Anonymous said...

Great piece of work Jim Utter.
Tyro Niner

Unknown said...

rest in peace ew.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this article about the 49ers and Erik. You are so right, this winning, record- breaking season is the best way to honor Erik. I know how proud he would be of everyone on this team. This 2007 season has finally put Charlotte in the spotlight and brought recognition to these players, coaches, and the university. I love this team! Erik's Mom, Peggy Smith