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Thomasville baseball looks to cap off legendary season in honor of former player

Posted at 12:26 AM, May 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-21 00:26:53-04

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — The Thomasville High School baseball team will play for the program's first state championship since 1999 on Monday, and it's a goal and opportunity they've been pushing towards for years. It's one motivated by a teammate lost, but never forgotten.

"The thought of him is constantly present. Coming back and forth from Tallahassee. I think about that all the time."

A small white cross, on the side of Highway 319, a memorial for a life taken too soon.

"If a coach has been through it, they understand," said Thomasville head baseball coach Erik McDougald. "If you haven't, you don't understand."

Levi Legend Knop was killed in a car accident on January 29th, 2019. He was 18 years old.

"We all gathered up in the multipurpose room," remembers senior Gabe Duncan of that day.

"We were all like, what's going on?" added Witt Wetherington. "Someone broke the news to us that Levi got killed in a car wreck."

Knop was a veteran on the Thomasville High School baseball team, a positive influence to his younger teammates.

"Levi was always right beside me and helped me out when anything came my way," said Wetherington. "He made me enjoy playing the game. Every time I walk through this ball park, it's hard not to think about him."

The memories are everywhere, reminders to live like Levi.

"Selfless. He cared for everybody," remembered Duncan. "The type of guy you want to be around."

"To be able to say, while he would have been graduated, his presence and his influence are still very instrumental in what we're doing today," said McDougald.

A driving force behind the Bulldogs success. The team is two wins away from a state championship, a goal Knop never got to see through.

"It made me realize from that day forward, live life to the fullest," said Wetherington. "I get to experience going to a state championship, and he never got the opportunity."

"That year that he passed, I think we had a pretty good chance to go all the way," added Duncan. "We're trying to do it in remembrance of him."

"It's a historic team, but we want to be legendary," said McDougald. Legendary for Levi Legend. "That's our goal, and I think that goes hand in hand with everything he's left behind for us."

A goal for a life well lived, and never forgotten. Thomasville plays Monday night for the AA state championship. Game one of the best of three series against Vidalia starts at 5:00 at Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Georgia.