Central High to retire Caleb Easterling’s baseball number after his untimely death

CENTRAL– The Central High community will come together to honor the legacy left behind by Caleb Easterling at his jersey retirement ceremony on Feb. 24. It will be at 11am.

Caleb Easterling was killed in a car crash on July 12, 2023. According to Louisiana State Police investigators, William Cokes, 49, of Baton Rouge, was heading east on Magnolia Bridge Rd. when he crossed into the westbound lane and hit Easterling head-on. Another truck heading westbound rear-ended Easterling.

Cokes was charged with vehicular homicide, first-degree vehicular negligent injuring, reckless operation of a vehicle, driving on the right side of the road, possession of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles, and no driver’s license.

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Easterling was a catcher on the Central High baseball team until he graduated in 2022. He played one season at Holmes Community College in Mississippi and was headed to Williams Woods College in Missouri for his sophomore season.

“Coach Leo McClure was Caleb’s coach when he was at Central, and right after Caleb’s death, he kept saying he wanted to do something to honor Caleb, and we all talked, and he suggested retirement, and we were great with that,” said Caleb’s mother, Becky Easterling. “That was a perfect way to honor Caleb.”

In addition to Caleb’s number being retired, Becky said they’ll have a permanent symbol of her son in the outfield with his name and jersey number, although she doesn’t know what it is yet.

“I think it’s going to be such a great way to honor him and forever have his memory at the high school,” she said.

Becky said the last seven months have consisted of her family doing what they could to live without a beloved figure.

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“We wake up every day and try to do the best we can do to live our life without him, and we’re still learning to accept that he’s never going to be here again and we’ll never see him or talk to him, or he’ll never play college baseball,” she stated. “The hardest part for me is that he’s no longer here to fulfill his dreams. My goal is to keep his memory alive. He touched so many people. I want to keep that alive. I don’t ever want him to be forgotten.”

The community is invited to attend Saturday’s retirement ceremony. Free jambalaya and a community tailgate event start at 11 a.m., leading up to the ceremony at noon at the Central High baseball field.

“I don’t even know how to thank the Central Community,” Becky said. “They support us, check on us, and they bought all the shirts and showed up for all the fundraisers, and they talk about Caleb. They do what they can to make us feel better.”

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