Devon Austin, the Gatorade Player of the Year for Idaho in baseball last spring, died in a car accident early Sunday morning, friends said.
Austin was the passenger in a car driven by his friend Ryan Reinhardt when it failed to negotiate a curve about seven miles south of Twin Falls, friends said. Austin and Reinhardt both died. Both weren’t wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the car, friends said.
Another passenger, Jessica Duran, Austin’s girlfriend, suffered minor injuries, friends said.
Austin, a catcher, was attending College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls on a baseball scholarship.
He led CdA (22-10) to the 5A state semifinals. He batted .433 with four homers, 48 RBI and 17 stolen bases. He was also the Louisville Slugger Player of the Year for Idaho.
A memorial, including his mitt and uniform, has been set up at home plate at Ted Page Field, Coeur d’Alene High’s baseball field, CdA baseball coach Nick Rook said. People are encouraged to drop off flowers or cards.
“Devon touched more lives in a positive way than he ever realized or his parents ever realized,” Rook said. “He touched my life. Devon’s ability to attract people was spectacular. You were drawn to Devon. I knew we’d be celebrating Devon’s life, but I didn’t think it would be this way. I thought it would be because of news that he was drafted or something.”
Austin is the grandson of Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Ron Edinger.