Nate Rosser isn’t just playing for the Vancouver Coastal (Zone 5) baseball team at the Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games.
He’s also playing for the memory of his best friend, Kyle Losse, who died in January at the age of 14.
Rosser and Losse were best friends off the field and frequent teammates on it. Losse died on Jan. 23 — Rosser’s 15th birthday — two days after suffering an unexpected stroke.
“I try to dedicate everything I do in baseball to him,” Rosser said, shortly after his Vancouver-Coastal team was edged by Vancouver Island-Central Coast in a round-robin game at Duncan’s Evans Park.
The boys first met when Rosser was in his second year of mosquito ball and Losse was in his first year. They played on opposing teams that season.
“The first time I met him, I hit him in the back with a pitch,” Rosser recalled. “Right between the numbers.”
It turned out the boys attended the same school, although they were a grade apart. Later that same season, they found each other on the same Tsawwassen peewee AA rep team, which their fathers coached.
“We started to become very good friends. We would joke around together because we were two of the best players on the team. Our best memories were probably on that field,” Rosser said, gesturing to the nearby mosquito diamond at Evans Park. “Playing in Duncan at provincials.”
Rosser moved up to peewee the following year, while Losse continued to play mosquito, although it wasn’t unusual for Losse to get called up to the peewee squad. When Rosser was in his second year of peewee and Losse was in his first year, Losse tried out for the AAA rep team, and made it, no small feat for a first-year player.
That year, Losse also moved to a new house about a two-minute walk from Rosser’s. The boys carpooled, hung out after games and had sleepovers on nights before they played.
“We’d tell our parents we went to bed at midnight when it was really 2 or 3 a.m,” Rosser said. “That was when we became very close friends. He started to become a very good ball player.”
Rosser moved up to bantam the following year, while Losse remained in peewee, where he dominated the league.
“He demolished the stats,” Rosser said. “I think he hit 18 home runs. He was definitely one of the best players on any ballfield he played on.”
|Kyle Losse, 14, played on several local baseball teams, including the Delta Tigers AAA team (Contributed)|
They were waiting this year to see what level Losse played when Losse died. Rosser is certain they would have been playing together at the BC Summer Games.
“He would be on this team,” Rosser said.
Rosser was visiting Jamaica with his family in January when he got word, on his birthday, that Losse was on life support. Losse died later that day, at 2:22 p.m. A coroner’s report recently revealed that he suffered a stroke, most likely caused by fibromuscular dysplasia, a disease of the blood vessels that causes abnormal growth within the wall of an artery.
“Everything stopped working,” Rosser said. “It just happened.”
That night, Rosser designed a glove in Losse’s memory, one that he still wears to pitch, complete with Losse’s No. 14, and the dates of his birth and death. When Losse died, baseball cards were printed with his photo on the front and the stats from his last year of peewee on the back. Rosser still keeps one of those cards on him.
“It’s beat up because it’s always in my pocket,” he said.
Losse’s parents also gave Rosser their son’s bat, which Rosser brought to the Cowichan Valley.
“The bat is two inches smaller that what I use,” Rosser noted. “I always gave him a hard time for using a shorter bat, but he was always crushing righties with it.”
Rosser called his Summer Games experience “great, amazing,” but still wishes Losse could be there as well.
“I always think he’d be having such a good time here,” Rosser said. “It’s a good atmosphere; everyone is having a good time. It’s nice to meet new players. I’ve never played with any of the other guys before. It’s a good team; they’re good guys.”
Follow along with Black Press Media’s full coverage of the B.C. Summer Games here.
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