Mentone Youth League debuts 'MAX STRONG' jerseys in honor of kids killed in Fulton Co. bus crash
MENTONE, Ind. --- Friday was the Mentone Youth League’s first softball game without player number 14, Alivia Stahl.
That’s why the team has new jerseys that say “MAX STRONG” in her memory.
Alivia was killed along with her two brothers, Mason and Xzavier, while walking to their Fulton County bus stop last fall.
Playing softball was one of her favorite things to do. Now, the team has new jerseys and the girls on the team said that it feels like she’s still playing alongside them.
Along with their MAX Strong jerseys, Alivia will always be a part of the game with a sign posted on the field in her memory.
But for one girl on the team, the sign is a little bittersweet because Alivia was her best friend.
It’s good but sad at the same time,” Anna Bradley said.
Even amongst the excitement of the Friday night lights Bradley said there’s still one thing missing.
“She was my best friend,” Bradley said. “There was no one at the top of her.”
Although there’s a special player missing, Anna is proud to be wearing “MAX STRONG” on the back of her jersey. It stands for Mason, Alivia, and Xzavier strong and also represents the recent push for stronger bus stop safety laws in Indiana.
“It’s been hard and everything ever since then and then seeing the posters out there in the back and my jersey saying max strong on the back of it,” Bradley said.
This is also Alivia’s mothers first time back on the field without Alivia.
“It hurts that I’m missing that one player on the field,” Brittany Ingle said
“Softball season was coming up and I was really upset and I was like what could we do?” Ingle explained. “And I was like it would be really awesome to see Alivia’s favorite colors and her name on a jersey and it just went from there.”
Seeing it all come together means everything for both Brittany and Anna. To top things off, the #14 is now retired. Alivia was the last one to wear it.
“It means more to them than just a shirt that says MAX Strong it’s very personal to some of those girls,” Ingle said. “She loved softball so this is to keep her memory alive.”
Ingle has plans to continue to sponsor the team through the MAX Strong foundation, which the family created to push for stronger bus stop laws after the tragedy.
This year was also supposed to be Mason and Xzavier’s first year playing tee-ball. MAX Strong will also be sponsoring the Mentone Youth League’s tee-ball team this year.