A jersey divides team from team, city from city and number from number. But, there was no division Friday night.
"Baseball is bigger than just a game," Metro State Senior Marcus Bean said. "It's bigger than playing the other team. It's kind of a big brotherhood."
Colorado Mesa baseball player Ryan Teixeira passed away earlier this year after a long battle with leukemia.
So, before their conference matchup, the Metro State Roadrunners honored Mesa with a No. 17 Teixeira jersey. The logos of both teams were on each of the sleeves.
"You've really got to be there for each other," Metro State Senior Jake Thurston said. "Baseball is a family. We've played against each other for four years, but they're still family for us."
Teixeira might not physically be with his teammates anymore, but his spirit is around Colorado Mesa wherever you look.
For instance, he gave his "17 strong" bracelet to his friend and teammate, William Dixon, before he passed away. Dixon still wears it every day.
"He was the most genuine person I've ever met," Dixon said. "He was somebody that would go out of his way to make sure that everybody had a great day."
It's not often that conference foes can come together on anything. But, the jersey exchange prior to the first pitch was exactly the kind of unity and love that his teammates say Texiera displayed every day of his life.
"He was the type of person that if you spent 15 minutes with him, you'd walk away going, 'There's something different about that guy," Mesa coach Chris Hanks said. "He was an absolutely outstanding young man."
The night showed that sports should never take precedent over life.
"I know the Metro guys love each other just like we love each other," Dixon said. "They know what that's like. So, that helped."
These two schools won't be forgetting what they share anytime soon, different jerseys and all.
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