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Briana Williams' teammates knew they had a choice. They knew it would be one of the toughest softball games they'd ever play. But in the end, they took the field because they felt their slain teammate would not have wanted it any other way. Artie Ojeda reports.
It's what Bree would have wanted.
Briana Williams' teammates knew they had a choice. They knew it would be one of the toughest softball games they'd ever play. But in the end, they took the field because they felt their slain teammate would not have wanted it any other way.
Hours after Williams memorial service and funeral, players on the Renegades softball team took the field in Santee playing against a team from Temecula. They played with spirit, energy, but most of all, with heavy hearts.
"Even though we have heavy hearts, we're gonna play with a lot of heart," said coach Don Portugal.
The Amateur Softball Association actually delayed the start of Thursday night's tournament game so Williams teammates could attend her funeral. Their game was pushed back to 8 p.m.
If only for a few hours, the players found comfort on the softball field, an escape from an emotionally grueling day. But first, they took a vote to even play the game at all. It was a unanimous yes.
"This is exactly what she'd want," said teammate Nina Villanueva. "She'd want us to come out here and have fun and just be with each other because she loved being with all of us and just having fun."
To honor Williams, her teammates wrote her number '25' on their arms. They wore bracelets that said 'RIP Bree and Donna.' Bree's game jersey hung in their dugout.
"We think about her every play and every at bat, so if anything, it gives us a desire to play and play harder for them."
In the end, the final score hardly mattered. The Renegades lost to Temecula 6-4. But now, an emotional challenge will come off the field. One parent said the girls have a strong bond and will turn to each other for support, in all likelihood, for the rest of their lives.
They'll do so with a vivid memory of a beloved teammate.