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Crisp Academy mourns the death of three-sport star Bodrey (UPDATED: Sunday evening with additional details, quotes, reaction)

James Bodrey was loved by everyone who knew him, for his competitive nature in sports, where he starred in football, basketball and baseball at Crisp Academy, and for his humor and wit and personality as he touched everyone who knew him.

James Bodrey was loved by everyone who knew him, for his competitive nature in sports, where he starred in football, basketball and baseball at Crisp Academy, and for his humor and wit and personality as he touched everyone who knew him.

MACON — A former star athlete at Crisp Academy died Saturday afternoon in the trauma unit at Macon Medical Center, where he had been being treated for a head injury suffered in a four-wheeler accident.

Family friends and former coaches of James Bodrey confirmed to The Cordele Dispatch, which first reported the news, that the 2011 graduate of Crisp Academy was critically injured when he apparently fell from an all-terrain vehicle.

The mishap occurred during the pre-dawn hours in Laurens County where Bodrey — who was currently enrolled at Darton College, where he signed a scholarship to play baseball — and others reportedly had planned to take part in a deer hunting trip.

“It’s a huge, huge blow to this community,’’ said Crisp Academy baseball coach John Penney, who also coached Bodrey for years on traveling teams. “A kid of his caliber, they just don’t come along.’’

Bodrey was more than just an athlete, he was a personality that lit up the room when he was there, funny, personable, insightful — one of a kind.

“If I started to write everything I thought was great about James and what a great kid he was, I wouldn’t have enough room to write it all, or have enough words,’’ Penney said.

“He was such a delight,’’ he added. “I love him like a son. My daughter graduated with him, and he was at my house a lot. You talk about a kid being raised up right and working for everything he gets, that was James.’’

Brodrey played everything at Crisp, but was a superstar on the baseball diamond.

“He was a great athlete,’’ Penney said. “He had the heart of a lion, and he was a leader. He’s the best pitcher I’ve ever coached. He had that ability that when a kid stepped into the box and took a swing, James would figure him out, and that was it. He had him. But he was also a great basketball player and the quarterback of the football team. He was just a great kid’’

The people in Cordele who knew Bodrey will miss everything about him.

“Lord knows he leaves a hole in our heart,’’ Penney said. “They just don’t come along like James. He loved everybody, and everybody loved him.’’

Penny took over the baseball program last year after Brett Freeman, who was at Crisp for four years, left.

“I remember seeing James pitch in seventh and eighth grade,’’ Freeman said. “He was a varsity pitcher when he was in eighth grade, and he was successful. You can just see some kids have that moxy, that savvy about the way they play the game differently than other kids. He had that.’’

Bodrey started five years for Crisp, and Freeman said he was the one pitcher that was on his own.

“I always call all the pitches,’’ Freeman said. “But I had a confidence and ease with James and when we won the state title in 2011, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. I thought: ‘This is what Bobby Cox feels like having Tom Glavine on your staff.’ James is as good as gold.’’

Freeman, like everyone who knew Bodrey, loved James’ personality.

“He was just a quirky left-handed pitcher,’’ he said. “He was a joy to be around, just a good kid, a special kid. You just loved him...’’

Bodrey leaves a baseball legacy all his own.

“You know, Buster Posey is the face of the Lee County baseball program, and Mason Worsham is the face of the Westwood football program. Well, James Bodrey is the face of Crisp Academy baseball. We’ve had a lot of great kids come through the program here, but James stands out as that kid. He will be sorely missed. The world is a little less bright today because we lost James.’’

---- Brett Freeman, former Crisp Academy baseball coach on fallen star player James Bodrey, who died Saturday in an ATV accident

“You know, Buster Posey is the face of the Lee County baseball program, and Mason Worsham is the face of the Westwood football program. Well, James Bodrey is the face of Crisp Academy baseball. We’ve had a lot of great kids come through the program here, but James stands out as that kid. He will be sorely missed. The world is a little less bright today because we lost James.’’

Current Fullington Academy head football mentor and athletic director Jerry Breeden, who coached Bodrey for one season, said he would like to “convey thoughts and prayers to James and his family both from myself and the entire Fullington Academy staff and student body.”

Ron Drummonds, who’s in his first year as the head football coach and athletic director at Crisp Academy, said that while he didn’t know the former Wildcat stalwart personally, he was aware Bodrey was “a fine young man and a good all-around athlete.

“I’ve heard a lot about his contributions to this school. From what I understand, he was a super nice young man involved in football, baseball and other athletics programs at our school.

“Along with everyone else associated with Crisp Academy, my thoughts and prayers go out to James and his family.”

Gina Mitchell, who coaches the girls basketball team at Crisp, knew Bodrey and her son, Chance, knew him well.

“You would see him at school,’’ Mitchell said. “He was just the funniest thing ever. He was always making people laugh.

“It’s just hard to believe,’’ she added. “It’s really, really sad. My heart aches for the family.’’

Bodrey led the Wildcats to the 2011 GISA Class A state title in baseball and back to the state title game in 2012.

He was named to The Herald’s 2012 All-Area team. He went 9-1 with a 1.80 ERA, winning nine games in a row after losing on opening day. He also hit .420 and drove in 38 runs.

“He was just such a neat kid, so funny and witty,’’ said Mike Phillips, a sports writer with The Herald, who knew Bodrey through covering the Crisp Academy baseball team.

“He was one of the funniest high school athletes I’ve ever met.

“And he was an incredible competitor, on and off the diamond. He was one of my favorite kids to interview. It’s heartbreaking.’’

Freeman said there would never be another one like Bodrey, because he touched everyone around him.

“The world is a little less bright today because we lost James,’’ he said.

Comments

TRUTH101 2 years ago

Sorry to hear such bad news

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