BELTON, Texas (KWTX) A Central Texas baseball complex has a new name in memory of a former player who died of cancer at the age of 12.
For eight years, the sound of a bat and a baseball on the diamond was all Jace Jefferson knew. In 2015, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Months later, he tragically lost the battle to cancer.
On Monday, after years of planning by the Belton Youth Baseball Association and a unanimous vote by Belton city council members, the new name of the complex was unveiled as the Jace Jefferson Baseball Complex.
"It's sad but it makes me proud that people want to honor Jace,” said his mom Meloney Jefferson. "Knowing that his legacy and memory is going to live on makes me happy. That's my whole goal; I live for him every day so I would like everybody else to keep his memory alive."
Jace's sister, Mecca, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Her brother’s memory bringing smiles to those who knew him including some of his former teammates.
"Good to see such a good person is always going to be remembered here and he loved baseball and he loved playing baseball and he loved being around people playing baseball,” said Tristan Robin.
Jaden Anzaldua, who also played with Jace, shared the same sentiments.
"It feels great knowing that people wanted to do this for him. And knowing how big he was to people and how he was a role model to me,” Anzaldua said.
Meloney Jefferson says Jace loved Jackie Robinson and the impact the baseball great had on the world. On his tombstone are words from Robinson, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Even at such a young age, Jace had an impact on the entire Belton community.
"He was kind and humble and never even knew he was as special as he was. This is a clear story of it,” Meloney Jefferson said.