FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) - The Franklin High School junior varsity baseball team remembers one of their own after he was involved in an ATV accident on Friday.
Will Cherry, Franklin High sophomore, died on Tuesday after being hospitalized at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. The 15-year-old, who played baseball and football for the Admirals, died after the crash caused two traumatic events to his brain.
"The Franklin High School community is heartbroken over the loss of Will Cherry," Franklin High Principal Dr. Shane Pantall said in a social media post.
"As a freshman, Will was a member of the FHS football and baseball teams. He was a fun-loving student that cared deeply for his family, friends, and school. He will be missed by his classmates, teachers, coaches, and Franklin High School community."
The Franklin High School community is heartbroken over the loss of Will Cherry. Please continue to pray for the Cherry family. pic.twitter.com/O0QWcs3t77— Dr. Shane Pantall (@wcsFHSsp) July 6, 2021
Cherry was easy to pick out at tryouts because of his large stature. But he says his personality was even more significant.
"He's such a giving person," Myers Tschantz, who was Cherry's teammate, said.
For the JV team, Cherry was an important player - the cherry on top.
"He knew how to lit up, light up a room," Jackson Short, another one of Cherry's teammates, said. "He was really funny, and I don't know, he was always cracking jokes, and he was a lovable guy."
You know he's one of my kids," baseball coach Wally Whidby said. "The kid, he could knock the crap out of a baseball."
Today @FHSAdmBaseball lost one of our very own. @TheCherry0713 went to his eternal home, but not before being the ultimate team mate to his fellow humans. He was big, strong and healthy. His final act was offering himself to others so they might get well. #26…We love you Big Boy— Coach Whidby (@WCSFHSCoachWhid) July 7, 2021
He's a player Whidby said he'll never forget. On Friday, Cherry was a passenger on an ATV which rolled over.
"I was holding onto the hope that he would defy the odds because he's strong," said Whidby. "Big, strong, tough kid that if anyone could make it out of it, I felt like he could. But God had another plan."
Cherry would have turned 16 next week. But when Will's life came to an end, eight other patients received his gift – a donation of his major organs.
"His earthly vessel, he'd done all the work that he could do, he would leave behind every working piece that he had so somebody else could have a chance at a better life," Whidby said.
"To a way lesser degree, he let me use his bat every game," Tschantz joked. "So, when I heard that, it didn't surprise me. He's just a giving person."
Next year's season will be different for the Franklin High School baseball team without Cherry, but he'll always remain on top of their minds.
Whidby said that while he's a baseball coach, he's also a pastor. He said he plans to officiate part of Cherry's funeral service on Monday in the Franklin High School auditorium at 11am.
A vigil was held Monday night at Franklin High School that teammates, friends and the community attended.