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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Encino

Ball Field Named for Boy Killed in Fight

March 12, 2000|ROBERTO J. MANZANO

During an emotional ceremony Saturday, a baseball field was named in honor of Stephan Corson, the 13-year-old Palmdale boy who was killed last fall in a fistfight at a middle school.

More than 500 players, parents and friends of the family gathered to watch Stephan's mother, Mary, and his brother, Jay, throw out the ceremonial first pitches of the season at Franklin Fields. Stephan played in the West Valley National Little League for five years at the park at Oxnard Street and Louise Avenue.

"We just felt that his name should live forever. He meant so much to so many people," said Alex Vassil, Stephan's former coach.

"He was a true competitor, and he always gave his best effort," said Vassil, his voice breaking. "He displayed true joy for the game he enjoyed so much and for life itself."

The league also retired Stephan's jersey number, 16, and players wore patches featuring the number on their sleeves. League officials presented the Corson family with an inscribed baseball and plaque.

"I've never been part of anything like this before. It's an honor," Mary Corson said.

Stephan died after he was punched in the face Nov. 19 during a fight with another eighth-grade student outside of class at Juniper Intermediate School. Corson started the fight, witnesses told police.

Stephan's family has said that the other boy, a 14-year-old, hit Stephan after a teacher's aide had stepped between the two.

Prosecutors are reviewing the case to determine whether to press charges against the other boy.

On Tuesday, the Palmdale School District rejected a wrongful-death claim filed by the Corson family. Melanie E. Lomax, former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, is representing the Corson family. She said she plans to file a lawsuit next week.

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