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Western Illinois Mourns Loss of Devin VanBrooker


VanBrookerWIU MACOMB, Ill. – Devin VanBrooker (Plymouth, Ill./Southeastern HS/College of Lake County), a member of the Western Illinois University baseball team, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident Tuesday night (May 4) in Macomb.

VanBrooker was 21 years old. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Born on January 19, 1989, VanBrooker was the son of Daniel and Susan VanBrooker, with one brother, Tony. He signed with the Fighting Leathernecks baseball team last summer after playing his first two years at the College of Lake County.

"Devin’s passing is a shocking, tragic loss. Words cannot describe how we as coaches and our players feel right now. He was not only a standout pitcher, but a great teammate as well. I only knew Devin for a few short months but I am honored to have had the opportunity to coach him and get to know him as a person," said Western Illinois head baseball coach Mike Villano. "We want to extend our thoughts and prayers to the VanBrooker family in their time of grief."

A junior left-hander, VanBrooker posted a 3-4 record (tied for the team lead in wins) and an 8.07 ERA in nine starts and 11 appearances this season. His nine starts (tied), 40 strikeouts and 54.2 innings pitched also ranks first among the WIU pitching staff.

In his first collegiate start, VanBrooker led the Leathernecks to a series-clinching win at Furman. He also earned the win in his next start against Stephen F. Austin (at the Sooner Classic), pitching five strong innings. Eight of his nine starts were during weekend series.

He did not allow a walk in his first 16.0 innings pitched, ranking among the national leaders at the time. VanBrooker led Western to a Summit League win over North Dakota State on April 10th, striking out a season-high seven batters in a season-high 7.2 innings pitched.

VanBrooker’s 54.2 innings pitched is tied for eighth among the Summit League leaders. He struck out five or more batters on five occasions.

"Devin was an outstanding young man. He may have only been with us a short while, but Devin made an immediate impact on our baseball team. He was going to be a key player as Coach Villano works to rebuild our baseball program," said Director of Athletics Dr. Tim Van Alstine. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Devin’s family."

Western’s game against Bradley scheduled for Wednesday (May 5) has been cancelled. This weekend’s Summit League series at Centenary has also been cancelled, and according to Dr. Van Alstine make-up dates for the Centenary series are pending.

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