Jake Satterwhite remembered

Ballplayer's catch phrase, 'Walk it off,' taken to heart by many


It was as if Jake Satterwhite himself approved of Sunday's memorial service in his honor.

The sign bearing the fallen athlete's name was hung, about 40 members of Craig's community were gathered and Satterwhite's former baseball coach, Buddy Grinstead, began the field dedication services under cloudy skies.

"What a kid," the coach/sheriff choked out as his eyes welled with tears not common to a man of his stature.

Then, as if Jake was saying everything was alright, the blustery remnants of winter were broken in the sky by golden rays of the westward sun illuminating Woodbury Park's Field 3 now known as Jake's Field.

Jake Satterwhite, 13, was killed last August in Pueblo in a car crash.

The sign proclaiming the field's new name was hung on the chain-link fence behind home plate.

Underneath his name on the sign was a phrase regularly uttered by Satterwhite. The three words the young athlete used to soothe and motivate his teammates seemed to be aimed at those who attended Sunday's dedication "Walk it off."

"For those of you who don't know the story behind the phrase, it was one of two things he'd say when a teammate would get hit by a pitch or a bad jump on a ground ball," Grinstead said. "He'd tell them, 'Don't rub it,' and 'Walk it off.'"

It was Jake's father, David Satterwhite, who seemed to heed his son's words the most out of all the attendants. While David Satterwhite was too emotional at the end of the dedication to comment on his son's memorial he did try and walk it off.

He walked behind the home-plate backstop where Jake had once knocked dirt off of his cleats before knocking the ball out of the park. Past the first-base line where his son once ran full tilt to beat the ball to the baseman. And past the dugout where Jake Satterwhite laughed, joked, kept spirits high and rallied his team perhaps even taking time to look back and glean a pointer from his father.

Jake Satterwhite was obviously a missed member of Craig, the aftermath of his death still rippling through the community. Teachers, family, friends and a company of Moffat County High School baseball players stood silent, remembering in an effort to ease the pain.

The 13-year-old pitcher and first baseman, whose trademark was 110 percent effort, 110 percent of the time, has pushed even those who have had their moment in Moffat County's sun.

"Hopefully dedicating the field to Jake will make others use what happened and try to live better lives," Rob Satterwhite, Jake's cousin and former MCHS power hitter said. "I know seeing the dedication has made me better because I want to be remembered the same way."

So many different people remember Jake Satterwhite in so many different ways.

To Rob Satterwhite, he was the younger cousin who was always laughing and joking around.

To coach Grinstead, he was an irreplaceable team core, ready to chuck teammates under the chin after a loss and jump the highest after a win.

To Vanda Pfeffer, in a poem she wrote, Jake was a boy whose favorite color was red, favorite ball player was Ken Griffy Jr. and who since the age of eight, when he started baseball, was never seen without a glove or a ball.

To Cheryl Ivy, a mother to one of Jake's friends, he was the boy who helped her son catch a pail full of water snakes that had kept her housebound for a day.

But in those late-day rays of sun making its way through the gray blanket of the Yampa Valley sky, former teammates and youth younger than the fallen boy-hero gathered in the crushed-brick infield to crack bat on ball and call "Pop fly," with all the bases covered on Jake's Field. It's what Jake would have wanted.

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