Known for his smile and his ability to make his friends and baseball teammates laugh, Danny Sickles, junior accounting major, will be remembered for the way he loved life.

Sickles, a 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher, passed away Feb. 23.

Sickles had played his way up from little league alongside junior outfielder Juan Hernandez. The two met as seven year olds playing baseball in Orlando, Fla., and played together through high school.

“Danny made us smile everyday,” said Hernandez, a junior outfielder. “Without a doubt, Danny is smiling down at us from a better place.”

Hernandez was influential in getting Sickles to transfer to Southern from Polk Community College in Florida.

“Baseball was the tie that made us better friends,” Hernandez said.

Sickles had played one season at Hillsborough Community College before transferring to Polk, where he also played one season. This season, Sickles had played two games as a Lion. He struck out two batters in four innings of work.

“We lost a great person and teammate,” said junior pitcher Ryan Verfurth. “He was a very devoted person. He was always striving to get better and be able to perform better on the field.”

Junior outfielder Logan Kachur thanked the campus community for their support during Wednesday’s memorial in Webster Hall auditorium.

“He was a great teammate, a great guy to have around, and a really talented kid,” said junior outfielder Logan Kachur. “I’ll remember him forever.”

Bryce Darnell, head baseball coach, says the difficult experience has brought an element of togetherness to the team.

“We’ll hang his jersey in the dugout all year long,” Darnell said. Sickles’ parents visited with the team. His father, Brian Sickles, played baseball as a young man. He told the team to get out on the field and go and keep on going.

Team members feel the tie with each other.

“We were a family during baseball and outside of baseball,” said Jacob Garrison.?? “Danny would want us to smile.”

Sickles was one of the first and the funniest people Skyler Rawlins, freshman infielder met when he arrived on campus.

“Just lookin at him would make you smile because he was so goofy,” Rawlins said. “He was just a really good person and an even better friend.”

Rawlins, Verfurth, Westcott and his brother Ben Westcott would watch television together every Tuesday night,.][Nip/Tuck][ was Sickles’ favorite show and although his friends never saw him angry, he would not tolerate any interruptions.

“He was an amazing person and his laugh and smile could light up a room, said Makenzie westcott ?????

Westcott said Sickles was always supportive and helped bring people together.

“Danny touched a lot of people’s lives and that is no coincidence,” Westcott said.

“I know Danny is in heaven right now and probably already knows what is gonna happen on this season of ][South Park happy as can be.