Baseball player who died in New York plane crash with family hit a grand slam in his final game, coach says

One of the five Georgia family members who died last weekend in a small plane crash in upstate New York hit a grand slam during the last baseball game he played in while visiting Cooperstown, his coach has revealed. 

Frank Tumminia Jr., identified by the Times Union newspaper as the coach of 12-year-old James “JR” VanEpps, wrote in a Facebook post that “his parents were too modest and humble to post about his athletic dominance so that is my job today as coach.” 

“In his last game in Cooperstown NY, where youth athletes’ dreams are made with storybook backgrounds and brackets full of several dozen teams… JR Van Epps crushed a GRAND SLAM,” Tumminia said. 

“Today and for as long as I live I will teach the living testimony of JR. A piece of me left with him… I will remember him as the ultimate human,” he added. 

FAMILY WHO DIED IN NEW YORK PLANE CRASH WAS FLYING THROUGH AREA OF ‘STORM ACTIVITY,’ NTSB REVEALS

A National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson revealed to Fox News Digital on Tuesday that the plane that VanEpps was traveling in passed through an area of “storm activity” on Sunday afternoon before crashing. 

The spokesperson said flight tracking data for the single-engine Piper PA-46 aircraft “was lost about 12 minutes after departure” from Alfred S. Nader Regional Airport in Oneonta. 

“Preliminary information indicates that the plane was flying from Oneonta, New York to Charleston, West Virginia when it crashed under unknown circumstances,” the NTSB spokesperson added. “Meteorological data shows storm activity along the flight path.”  

FAMILY DIES IN NEW YORK PLANE CRASH FOLLOWING COOPERSTOWN BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: POLICE

New York State Police on Monday identified the five victims in the crash as James VanEpps, Harrison VanEpps, 10, Ryan VanEpps, 42, Laura VanEpps, 43, and Roger Beggs, 76. 

“All of the passengers are family members from the state of Georgia and were in Cooperstown, NY for a baseball tournament,” police said, noting that the plane went down in the town of Masonville as it was heading back to Atlanta, with a stopover in West Virginia. 

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The NTSB said Tuesday that the debris path from the wreckage is about a mile long and that “all major portions of the plane” have been found except for the rudder.