College baseball players Stephen Bartolotta, Jacob Brown die after winning conference title

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Two college baseball players died in a horrific head-on collision on a Georgia road Saturday hours after their team won the conference title.

LaGrange College freshmen baseball pitchers Stephen Bartolotta, 18, and Jacob Brown, 19, were killed in the crash that happened on Roanoke Road in LaGrange at about 9:15 p.m., according to Georgia State Patrol.

Brown, who was on the mound for Saturday’s game, was behind the wheel when he attempted to pass a vehicle in front him by crossing the double yellow line, but wound up striking a pickup truck heading in the opposite direction, police said.

The driver of the pickup truck, Rico Dunn, 24, also died in the wreck.

Both Brown and Bartolotta were pronounced dead at the scene.

Dunn, who had celebrated his sister’s birthday earlier the same day, according to WSB-TV, was rushed to an area hospital, where died of his injuries early Sunday morning.

Rico Dunn, the driver of the pickup truck the players crashed into, was also killed.
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“I am deeply saddened to make you aware that we have suffered the loss of two students last night,” LaGrange College President Dr, Susanna Baxter said in a Sunday statement to the college community. “Baseball players Stephen Bartolotta and Jacob Brown were both killed in a tragic car accident.”

The two pitchers and their Division III team, the LaGrange College Panthers, had just beaten North Carolina Wesleyan for their fifth straight USA South Tournament title. With the victory, the Panthers got the automatic bid in the upcoming NCAA Division III national tournament.

“Coming on the heels of the team’s conference championship win yesterday, this news hits our baseball players especially hard,” Baxter said. “There simply are no words.”

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