Former Penguin dies in crash
By BRIAN DZENIS
Youngstown State’s baseball team is mourning the loss of one of its own.
Former pitcher Kevin Yarabinec died from injuries sustained in a crash during the weekend. He was 24 years old and played for the Penguins last season.
“It’s been challenging. I’ve just kind of been in a fog all day. We got the news last night that he had passed,” YSU coach Dan Bertolini said on Monday. “It’s been a really tough morning. I know for everyone involved, he was such a great kid. We’re kind of in shock.”
According to The Vindicator’s broadcast partner, WFMJ, Yarabinec and two other men were riding a pickup truck on Miola Road in Highland Township, Pa., just after midnight on Saturday when the truck hit a culvert and struck a tree. The three men were transported to Pittsburgh-area hospitals, where Yarabinec, and Mark Marucci, 29, passed away. Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
The Sharpsville, Pa., native’s former teammates shared their sadness on social media.
“I have been fortunate enough these past couple years to meet friends that have become brothers. Brothers that will always be family,” junior infielder Web Charles tweeted. “Words cannot describe how much each of them mean to me and how much it hurts to lose one today. Rest easy Yarby.”
Bertolini coached Yarabinec for one season at YSU, but knew him from trying to recruit him when he was coaching at Mercyhurst North East.
“It was funny, he went through some phases. He had some big thick-rimmed glasses when I recruited him — he was a tall and skinny. “I get here and he has long blond hair and then last year, he grew out a mustache and died it black.
“He was that kind of guy that had a good personality. He was fun to be around and just a great person.”
On the field, Yarabinec was a pitcher that served a variety of roles for the Penguins. In 2014, he earned the win and recorded the final out in the Horizon League championship game that sent the Penguins to a NCAA regional berth. In that same year, Yarabinec led the Penguins in ERA and saves.
In his junior season, he became the sixth player in program history to lead the team in both wins and saves. He left YSU ranking sixth in school history in saves with eight and 17th in career appearances with 61.
YSU is offering grief counselling to the team.
“Each person grieves differently, we’ll take it one day at a time. I think it gives our guys some perspective that things can be taken from you very quickly,” Bertolini said. “We’ll be there for his family and we’ll try to honor him with our play on the field.”