CINCINNATI – Organizers came up with the perfect idea to honor Gabby Rodriguez on Sunday.
Dozens of people of all ages – wearing Gabby's No. 13 on the back of their T-shirts with the words "Angel in the Outfield" on the front - were doing what Gabby loved to do – playing softball on a warm and sunny day.
That included Gabby's mom and dad, who took their swings and shared hugs and tears with others who came to the Western Hills University High School baseball field to remember the 15-year-old killed by a hit-and-run driver last Monday.
The softball game brought back fond memories for Christy Long, who organized the event.
“You have all different ages playing right now playing together. Gabby was out there playing with the boys. Out there at 8 years old, batting and everything,” Long said.
“Gabby loved softball. She loved being around people. She was very outgoing,” said Carlos Blair, principal of Western Hills University High School, where Gabby was a sophomore.
Blair also knows that Gabby was outspoken and convincing. She approached Blair to build a home field for the high school softball team. Done. The field is under construction.
“This event is an attempt to help the family with the pain they’re going through,” Blair added.
You could almost hear Gabby leading the cheers Sunday when her dad ripped a base hit and her mom, fighting back tears, stepped to the plate and also got a hit.
Gabby not only played for her school teams but also for the Cincinnati Reds RBI team (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities). The Reds honored her with a moment of silence at Great American Ball Park last week.
Rest in peace, Gabriella. pic.twitter.com/BshP2NpWUW
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 10, 2018
Organizers hope to raise between $5,000 and $10,000 for Gabby’s family between Sunday’s event and a GoFundMe page.
Gabby's funeral is Monday following visitation from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at McPherson Church, 931 McPherson Ave.
Gabby was killed crossing Harrison Avenue to catch the bus to school. Police are still looking for the driver of a white 2012-2015 Honda Civic.
Police ask anyone with information to call all the Cincinnati Police Department's Traffic unit at 513-352-2514.