A Community Of People Remember The Life Of A Young TJC Pitcher - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/10/07-Jacksonville

A Community Of People Remember The Life Of A Young TJC Pitcher

Payton Diers's mother, Rhonda Diers, said Payton has worn baseball clothes since his first day in the world.  "I knew I had a wonderful son," she said.  "He is with us always."

Central Baptist Church in Jacksonville was filled with hundreds of people, Wednesday.  It was a time to mourn and celebrate the life of the young Tyler Junior College Pitcher.

"I have four men in my life and just because one is with God, does not mean that he is not here with me," Rhonda Diers said.

Payton's uncle, Matt Wakefield, said Payton always blessed his family with talent, perseverance, humor and respect.   He said Payton had a love and devotion for his family and for his work, sports, and his God.  

Many said it was Payton's love for baseball which translated to a love for life.  

"He could throw a baseball over the plate at 90 miles an hour, and for those of you who don't know if that's good or bad, let me tell you, that's good," said Rev. Newton Hambrick.  Hambrick said Payton was not only a great athlete, but also a great leader. 

"He was a quiet example of someone who worked hard, studied hard, always tried to improve, and help his team to win, and win well," he said. 

And that winning spirit will truly be missed.

"Right now there's a loss--there's an emptiness," said Rev. Dennis Morgan.  "There's a hurt that we have."  

But those who knew Payton best, said they can take comfort in one thing.  

"He's on God's team," Rhonda Diers said.  "His grandmother's playing the piano [and] Payton is throwing what ever he can pick up to throw, and God's telling him, please do not break anything."

And Rev. Hambrick said although he will not be able to wear the championship ring on this earth--the ring he would have received next week from TJC's World Series win--he is wearing his crown of righteousness that the Lord has given him.

"He's running around heaven trying to get another game started," he said.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com

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