PORTAL — Portal won’t forget Luke Anderson.
The former pitcher for the Panthers died tragically in a car accident in December, 2010, and Portal held a memorial Monday before the season opener against Southeast Bulloch at Panther Field, dedicating a scholarship in his name.
Both teams lined the first- and third-base lines before first pitch as Anderson’s family was presented photos and a No. 11 jersey, and the presentation of a scholarship in Anderson’s name.
The No. 11 jersey was retired in the ceremony.
The scholarship will go to a Portal student who exemplifies Anderson’s traits in the community.
"We have a criteria here for the students that embody the types of things that Luke did while he was here in Portal," said Portal Middle/High School assistant principal Stephen Hoyle, the MC for the memorial service. "He was always helping the community. He helped out his fellow students at all times, whether they were baseball players or not. He was dedicated to everything he did, and he was definitely a dedicated baseball player."
"Great in the classroom, great manners, raised by great parents — you see the things they instilled in him and he put in his life," added Portal coach Tendai Haggins. "He got great grades, hard work, community service and there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for this baseball team. He wore his P with pride."
Anderson’s family and friends — including parents Greg and Julie Anderson, his brother-in-law and sister Josh and Jamie Lanier and his girlfriend Christian Chance — were in on hand for the presentation.
"I wish there were 1,000 Luke Andersons," Haggins said. "Hopefully, some of these kids can see what he believed in and what he worked for, and they can come out and do the same things. I know he’s watching and rooting us on right now. He’s still a Panther at heart."
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.