Hinds pitcher Wroten dies

Published 12:30 am Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Hinds Community College pitcher who collapsed on the mound earlier in the week has died.

Chase Wroten, 19, of Terry, died Friday afternoon at University Medical Center in Jackson, said hospital spokesman Bruce Coleman.

Wroten had suffered a stroke Wednesday during a game against East Central Community College in Raymond.

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“He’s just a good kid. The bad things that I’ve experienced in life always happen to the good ones,” Hinds assistant coach Clint Wilkerson said. “He was a good kid, a great competitor. He was a pretty special teammate. The outpouring of support from his teammates and former teammates spoke volumes about what kind of guy he was.”

Wroten, a sophomore, was pitching in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday when he motioned to his catcher, former St. Aloysius star Sean Weaver, to come to the mound.

“He said he needed me to hold him up,” Weaver said after Wednesday’s game.

Wroten fainted, then was helped off the field. Wroten was driven to a hospital in Jackson in a Hinds County deputy sheriff’s vehicle. As Hinds was continuing its second game of the doubleheader with East Central, Wroten was diagnosed with a blood clot in his brain and underwent emergency surgery. He later fell into a coma.

“We take each breath for granted,” Wilkerson said. “Here it is Friday afternoon and 48 hours ago this kid was pitching on the mound. Now he’s no longer with us. That’s something that’s surreal.”

Hinds head coach Sam Temple and his team spent most of the last two days at the hospital with Wroten.

“The whole team was there at the hospital,” said Jennifer Harper, the mother of Jay Harper, a Hinds pitcher and former Warren Central star. “It was very sad.”

Melinda Waring, mother of Eagles second baseman Pierson Waring, who played at St. Aloysius, said the team was in shock.

“Pierson was crying so hard,” she said. “They really thought he was going to get better.”

Wroten played high school baseball at Hillcrest Christian. He signed with Southern Miss, but left for Hinds after one semester. He was 1-0 last year with a 4.65 ERA in 17 innings pitched. He struck out 16 batters.

Wroten was expected to be the team’s No. 1 starting pitcher this season. But when the Eagles began having issues in the bullpen, Wroten was moved into a relief role. He got a win in Saturday’s game at Southwest Community College to move to 3-3 on the season.

“His nickname was ‘Sparky.’ He was 5-foot-7, 170 pounds and threw a 90-plus fastball. That shows what kind of competitor he was,” Wilkerson said.

It’s not the first tragedy to strike the Hinds baseball team. In March 2006, Marc Basye and Drew Carlisle were killed in a car wreck on Interstate 20 while returning to campus from a trip to Vicksburg. In 1998 another Hinds pitcher, Wes Cliburn, was also killed in a wreck. The team plays an annual spring tournament in his memory.

Wilkerson has also dealt with death as a coach. While coaching at St. Aloysius from 2005 to 2010, one of his players, Kyle Coleson, died of leukemia.

“I don’t think there’s a manual for dealing with this,” Wilkerson said. “No two human beings mourn alike. You have to have your feelers out and help each individual as best you can.”