Shawnee softball team honors teammate who died in crash

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Shawnee High School varsity softball team honored teammate Taylor Haffner during Thursday’s game.

Haffner, along with Osman Diaz, both 17-year-old juniors at Global Impact STEM Academy, lost their lives in a crash on April 21.

The two died in the afternoon when the car Haffner was driving went off the left side of U.S. 68 near the Ohio 41 exit through the grassy median and into another vehicle traveling southbound.

The softball team, which took the field Thursday for the first time since losing Haffner, held a memorial for her. They posted a sign with her number and released balloons.

“A lot of girls wrote things about her, put it together, had a single reading about her and presented the new sign,” said head softball coach Devin Spitzer.

The field had pillars to an old scoreboard that were still there, and Spitzer said Mark Patterson, Shawnee softball rec league president, made a steel sign with Haffner’s number, wings and a halo.

“It’s just beautiful,” Spitzer said. “We presented that, got that up there and had a moment of silence, and the girls released balloons.”

Spitzer said Tecumseh was very accommodating for moving the game and coming early. He also thanked all the teams in the area who showed support for the Braves.

Haffner’s number 12 will be “unofficially retired,” as long as Spitzer is the coach. However, Aleeseah “Ali” Trimmer, who Spitzer said was Haffner’s best friend, switched jersey numbers and will be wearing her number for the rest of the year.

“I’m not sure what will happen in the future, but as long as I’m here, no one will wear the number 12,” he said.

Spitzer said of Haffner: “She was just a nice kid ... she did whatever you asked of her. She was the only junior softball player ... Had a lot of friends on the team and really loved playing softball.”

The school was also great about letting the team out for her funeral, Spitzer said, held Wednesday at First Christian Church. Diaz’s visitation was held Thursday at Maiden Lane Church of God, and his service was held Friday.

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