By Addy Klontz
It’s the first home baseball game of the season. Cooper Roach is on the mound. His mom, Julie Roach, is beside him. His younger brother, junior Jacob Roach, is behind home plate.
Cooper, who just graduated from Delta last year and is in his first year at Ball State University, throws the first pitch of the season to Jacob in honor of their late dad, Corey Roach.
Assistant baseball coach Corey Roach passed away from lung cancer on Dec. 7, 2022. No one expected it as he was diagnosed just a week before he passed.
Since Coach Roach had an impact of all of his players, head coach Devin Wilburn has decided to do some things to honor him.
“Our new hats we got this year, I got his initials on the side of the hat,” Wilburn said. “I’m also going to spray his initials in the first base coach box every game.”
The baseball program also has started a scholarship for a senior who cared and acted like Coach Roach.
Corey didn’t just impact Coach Wilburn, he impacted the boys as well. Sophomore Landon Johnson felt like Corey was more than a coach.
“He was like a father to me,” Johnson said. “He was always very patient with you. He wouldn’t get angry if you did something wrong. He would always have your back.”
Coach Wilburn has known Corey from the start of his coaching career here at Delta.
“I knew Corey a little bit before I got here just through travel ball,” Wilburn said. “His teams that he coached played at Taylor University a lot which is where I coached. I wouldn’t say we were like close friends, but we knew each other.”
With Corey Roach passing, a new position opened up. Filling the new position is Lea Selvey.
Selvey served as head coach for Jay County baseball for more than 30 years before recently retiring, so he is highly experienced.
“You know you never replace people like (Corey), but we had to get a new assistant coach (to complete) our staff,” Wilburn said.
Tryouts for this season will be March 13 and 14. First varsity game will be March 29 at Greenwood.