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Former teammate pays tribute to Lake Bluff man who drowned in Alaskan mudflats

LAKE BLUFF, Illinois — The northern suburbs of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff united in grief as hundreds attended Sunday’s memorial service in memory of Zachary Porter.

A reputable 20-year-old Lake Bluff college student drowned in an Alaskan mudflat a week ago. Among the many who called for Porter’s tribute was his former teammate on the Lake Forest University baseball team.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, May 28, 2023 to honor 20-year-old Lake Bluff (Photo/Courtesy)

The sixth-best team in the conference won the regional championship with a series of emotional come-from-behind victories.

“We’re not just playing for ourselves. We’re playing for a greater cause, a higher power,” said Lake Forest High School student Sam Larson.

Related | ‘He was the best of us’: Family launches foundation in memory of son who drowned in Alaskan mudflats

The Scouts won the Antioch Regional Championship with angels on their shoulders. According to players, the angel was immortalized by the late Zachary Porter.

“People gravitated toward him,” Porter’s father, Todd, told WGN News. “His presence will last a lifetime.”

Porter, a former Lake Forest pitcher, lost his life in an Alaskan mudflat when he was unable to escape a rising tide.

Todd Porter addressed his son’s former teammates as he tried to ease the pressure ahead of last Wednesday’s section playoff game against Cary Grove.

Zachery Porter’s father, Todd Porter, tells WGN’s Julian Crews (Photo/WGN)

“Relax, have fun, play hard, but most importantly encourage each other,” he said.

Former teammate and friend Shepard Graf was at bat wearing Zack’s No. 3 jersey in Wednesday’s playoff win against Waukonda.

“I was just talking to Zack,” he said. “The result was 0 hits in 3 at bats and 2 strikeouts.”

“Shep,” as his teammates call him, faced a full count after a string of what some might call highly improbable, “miraculous” plays. When the unthinkable happened, his teammates declared it had to happen.

The representative baseball team of Lake Forest. (Photo/Lu Cheng)

“There is no better moment than this,” said his teammates.

Shepard Graff and his teammates say they will never forget this moment. He got the crowd excited with his goodbye base. According to Todd Porter, the feeling was almost unbearable.

“There were tears of sadness, but also tears of joy,” he said. “Amidst all the sadness around me, I was really happy that I was able to offer a little bit of happiness.”

https://wgntv.com/far-north-suburbs/his-presence-is-going-to-last-a-lifetime-former-teammates-honor-lake-bluff-man-who-drowned-in-alaska-mud-flats/ Former teammate pays tribute to Lake Bluff man who drowned in Alaskan mudflats

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