ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The Rowan County High School baseball team is mourning the loss of its coach. Keith Prater lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday night, just a few short weeks after being diagnosed.
Coach Keith Prater
Coach Prater got hit by a foul ball causing extreme swelling in his leg. When it didn't heal, he went in for further testing. Doctors diagnosed Prater with Acute Myeloid (AML) Leukemia.
Prater's team played for the KHSAA State Baseball Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in June. It was the team's first trip to the tourney since 1983. They played the game without their head coach.
One member of the team recalls the change that Prater created in the dugout game-in and game-out.
"At the beginning of the year we weren't supposed to be anything and the one year we are not supposed to be anything we end up having our best year in like 30 years and I don't think he would have changed anything about it."
Now that the coach is gone, a community is handling a loss they were never prepared for.
"So many people are touched by him through baseball but he touched many other people by being a friend or being a community."
Prater was in his 2nd season as head coach at Rowan County. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
On Wednesday night a vigil was held for coach Prater and the mayor says more than 100 people showed up.