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October 23, 2013

Chris Lane memorial game Thursday

DUNCAN — ADA — East Central University and Redlands Community College, along with the City of Duncan, Okla. and Duncan Public Schools are coming together to celebrate the life of Chris Lane Thursday, Oct. 24.

“Chris Lane Night at the Ballpark,” to be held at the Duncan High School’s baseball field, will feature an exhibition baseball event between ECU and Redlands. The festivities begin at 5 p.m.

Lane’s life was tragically cut short in Duncan in August. The 22-year-old Australian baseball player was preparing for his senior season at ECU, playing catcher one year with the Tigers as a junior and, prior to that, spending two seasons playing at Redlands in El Reno.

“Duncan is a high-quality and high-valued community in Oklahoma and they have proven it with the support of the Chris Lane family. We want to let everyone know Duncan is a great community,” said ECU President John R. Hargrave. “Chris Lane was not only a quality athlete, but a quality student. By the Duncan community wanting to support this scholarship funding endeavor, and give more students, like Chris, an opportunity to pursue a degree, just proves my point about the kindness and generosity of the people in Duncan.

“We want to invite everyone to come to ‘Chris Lane Night at the Ballpark.’ We want it to be a celebration of the good things about Chris Lane. He was an honor student. He had a 3.4 grade-point (average).”

 “A lot of our athletes come to school to play athletics. Chris played athletics to come to school,” said ECU Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff Williams.

“Chris Lane Night at the Ballpark” is free, but donations are being accepted to go to the Chris Lane Memorial Scholarship Fund. Concessions, donated by Arvest Bank in Duncan, and the Duncan Regional Hospital, will be sold by a number of community volunteers at the event as proceeds will go toward the scholarship fund as well.

Sarah Harper, girlfriend of Lane, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.

Jack Bryant, acting president of Redlands Community College, said the event is designed to honor Lane’s memory and help with healing.

“We are proud to participate with ECU in this scrimmage at Duncan. The tragedy which occurred has had a devastating impact on so many lives and we are happy to honor the memory of Christopher and help Duncan through their healing process,” said Bryant.

Chris Deal, president and CEO of the Duncan Chamber of Commerce, describes the event as a time of unity.

“It’s going to be a wonderful event. We are thrilled,” said Deal. Anytime you can get together and celebrate a life that was tragically cut short, it’s a great thing. It’s a time for the community to come together and memorialize Chris.”

The City of Duncan has already displayed support and honor toward Lane as a 5k race was recently held in his honor to generate funds for the Lane family.

“We’ve had an outpouring from the community through volunteers, churches and civic groups,” Deal said.

According to Duncan High School head baseball coach Tim Hightower, numerous volunteers have stepped forward for this event to handle the field preparation, donation booth, concessions, scoreboard operator and announcer.

“Hopefully, we can get the community out to the ball field. This is three communities coming together,” said Hightower, one of the event organizers.

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