MT. PLEASANT — Some things are bigger than sports, and that sentiment was felt by the Mt. Pleasant faithful in Monday’s home doubleheaders against Washington. The games happened just two nights after the tragic death of Devyn Broeker, a 2013 graduate and former Panther baseball player.
Devyn passed away tragically on Saturday night after a tubing incident in the Mississippi River. He was the brother of senior softball player Samantha Broeker, cousin of senior baseball player Corbin Broeker and nephew of Panther baseball coach Brent Broeker.
Before the games got underway, Mt. Pleasant held a tribute to Devyn, who was 24 years old at the time of death, on the baseball field. Many members of the family were in attendance for both doubleheaders.
“It kind of helped to just do something else but think about it,” Coach Broeker said after the games were over. “It got my mind off it a little bit. I think it got our family’s mind off it.”
The softball team came together before their Southeast Conference games to rally around Samantha, who collected three hits, two runs and an RBI in the split. Head coach Troy Mears said he saw his team rally around their senior catcher.
“We had a good team huddle before the game, with Sam in there,” Mears said. “We told her we were in her corner.”
Meanwhile, on the baseball field, cousin Corbin wore Devyn’s jersey, dawning the No. 8. Corbin finished the night with a pair of hits, an RBI and four runs scored wearing Devyn’s number, as the Panthers clinched at least a portion of the conference title for the second-straight year.
“We just wanted to get these two tonight for him,” Corbin said. “He loved baseball, and it was his pride and joy, so we wanted to get these two for him, and we did that.”
Much like the 2020 Panther baseball team, Devyn’s senior group clinched a share of the SEC title in 2013 with a home sweep, beating Ft. Madison. Devyn scored three runs in one of the two clinching games.
Monday’s games were the first games of a busy week for both the baseball and softball teams. Both teams played road games on Tuesday.
“We’re just trying to move on, day by day,” Brent said. “And the more time (passes), the easier it will get.”