EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Tyler Hatch's little league baseball team, the Mariners, held a moment of silence for him before their game Monday evening.
The coaches and team members all wore baseball caps with Tyler's number, 21, on them and Tyler's family was presented with a team photo and a baseball with the team members' signature
Tyler was on a camping trip near Powell, Wyo., with his family last week and was crossing the Shoshone River on horseback when the horse he was riding slipped, sending the 9-year-old Eagle Mountain boy into the water, where he drowned.
His father, Kevin Hatch, said he jumped in after the boy, but the fast-moving water had already carried him too far downstream.
"I jumped in the river to try to swim down because I knew I couldn't get to him fast enough on a horse," Hatch said. "We just weren't able to get to him before he went down a canyon section of the river that you can't get in."
Tyler's body was seen from a helicopter later that day, but was swept downstream before search teams could reach the area. Kayak teams have continued searching, but officials say the rocks in the area and the high water levels have made it difficult to locate the body. The accident occurred July 2.
“On Saturday, we had as many searchers as 65 in the area, probably another 35 on Sunday,” said Park County, Wyo., Sheriff Scott Steward. “We're going to continue to look as weather permits and conditions permit and my goal is to bring them back their son to put him to rest.“
Richard Krulisky, the team's assistant coach, said Tyler was a great player with "an amazing arm." He said Tyler played third base but was always willing to fill in anywhere he was needed.
"He was a kid who never complained," Krulisky said. "He tried to learn everything from catching to first base to shortstop."
Krulisky said the other coaches, team parents and neighbors in the community had all visited the Hatch family, delivering meals and trying to be supportive in any way possible. He said the news of Tyler's accident had shaken the team, but the kids had pulled together and dedicated their game Monday to Tyler.
One boy who hit a home run said, "That was for Tyler," as he ran across home plate.
"We all loved him," Krulisky said. "It's been a tough week for everyone."
Krulisky's son Vincent filled in for Tyler as third baseman Monday. Vincent, who is 9, said it was a shock to hear that Tyler had died.
"He was a real nice friend," Vincent said. "He was great at playing baseball."
Hatch said his son loved life and enjoyed the outdoors. The family has four other children, all daughters between the ages of 3 and 11 who were also present on the camping trip.
Hatch said he was glad the sheriff was able to spot his son's body from the helicopter so the family didn't have to pass all this time wondering. He is grateful for the efforts of search and rescue teams as well as the staff of the Majo Ranch, which provided assistance after the accident.
"A lot of their workers helped us get out of the mountain on Monday and helped us search and do a lot of things," Hatch said.