WICHITA, Kan. -- On Monday, the summer collegiate baseball team that loves and is mourning their nine-year-old batboy who died a day after he was struck in the head with a bat, shared memories of Kaiser Carlile.
His coach and players all smiled when they talked about Kaiser, whom they described as a 'spark.'
"He made the dugout a fun place to be in," said one player.
They told stories to describe Kaiser's dedication and happy spirit. The Liberal Bee Jays' coach, Adam Anderson, told about a time during a rain delay when the nine-year-old was bored and occupied himself by trying to push his little sister into a mud puddle. Anderson ordered him on the ground to do push-ups, and Kaiser followed orders immediately.
Then there was the time Kaiser ordered an enormous fast-food meal like the grown men and sat at the table with the college- age baseball players.
Everyone who spoke about Kaiser agreed: He was one of them.
"He made bus rides memorable with hilarious with his adorable humor," said another Bees teammate.
He said sometimes the players would say an obscenity, and then they'd apologize.
Kaiser would tell them it was alright because he was nine-years-old and knew what it meant.
Kaiser idolized the Liberal Bee Jays from Liberal, Kansas. During the team's National Baseball Congress World Series game Saturday night, he was accidentally hit by a player's bat.
"With the permission of the family, and with much sorrow and a very broken heart, I regretfully inform everyone that Kaiser Carlile passed away earlier this evening," team president Nathan McCaffrey said in a statement Sunday night.
The team president said he heard the bat hit with Kaiser, who was wearing a helmet, before he took a few steps back and fell.
"Just to see him fall, that's what crushes you," he said.
For many of the Bee Jays, Kaiser's death was deeply personal.
Kaiser was supposed to start the fourth grade at Sunflower Intermediate School this month, The Wichita Eagle columnist Bob Lutz wrote.
His family attended the game Sunday against the Haysville Aviators and tweeted after the win, "That's for you KC!"
"They were at the ballfield last night. They showed up to watch our game because they know that's what Kaiser would ask them to do," said Adam Anderson, the team's coach.
"When he showed up every day at the park, the smile on his face turned into a smile on everyone else's face, including myself," said Anderson. "His attitude in the dugout and his ability to, no matter how the game's going, we may be getting beat 10-0 and you look at him and he's got a smile on his face."
Kaiser gained 30 big brothers in his role as bat boy. It was obvious during the news conference how much the energetic nine-year-old meant to them. Coach Anderson was asked what he has said to his team about the loss and about handing their grief.
"My biggest message to them is nobody's going through this alone," said Anderson.
He also said Kaiser would always be with them and his smiling, encouraging spirit would be everlasting.
"When we're out there playin' and after this summer's over, the guys, when they go back to their respective schools they're going to carry this with them and they know that they're going to have an angel with them," Anderson said.
Watch the video in the player above to hear from Brady Cox, third baseman, who plays at University of Texas- Arlington. He says he'll never pick up a baseball again without thinking of Kaiser. He broke up when he remembered the encouragement he sought and received from Kaiser, before a great at-bat.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses.
The National Baseball Congress is suspending the use of bat boys and girls during its World Series in Kansas following the death of Kaiser. The organization is planning to honor Kaiser at games Monday and Tuesday.