TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — On the baseball field was where Keith Francis met Jacob Dindinger.
“The first time that I saw Jacob he was a freshman," recalled Francis."And he swung really well that day— got a couple of hits against some older kids, and I was impressed.”
Reflecting on the years he spent coaching a hero on the Canyon Del Oro baseball field, all Francis can express is his gratitude.
“Thank you. Thank you for being in my life because you made it better, even through your death, you've made it better,” he said.
Francis was a first responder himself and is still grappling with what happened nearly two weeks ago.
The left-handed hitter was ultimately fatally shot while on the job during a fire-turned shooting spree.
“I was crushed. I couldn't believe it. I just, I still don't believe it, even to this day and I know that it has occurred but it's such a horrible thing,” said Francis.
On the field, Francis said he has two rules— be on time and do things right.
He said Jacob exemplified both.
“He came to work every day [and] never complained about what he had to do. [He] always got his work done and from a coaching standpoint, he was a great person to have around,” he said.
Standing on the field today, memories poured in for Francis.
“I certainly am full of memories---watching him run on the bases and making plays in the outfield and swinging---especially during those times at the camps when we got to be so personal with them---spend so much time with him,” he recalled.
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