Former Puyallup High School student-athlete and 2019 graduate Eli Sevener died Wednesday afternoon.
“It breaks my heart to inform everyone that Eli has been taken off of life support and has passed on to heaven this afternoon,” Eli’s brother, Zach, tweeted. “Our family is devastated and in shock by the way everything happened. He was such a fantastic brother, friend, co-worker and son. He had so much more to give to this world. We ask that he is never forgotten and that you take some time today and remember your positive memories of him. He will be watching over us as we go through the rest of our lives. #RestInPeaceEli.”
On Monday, Zach Sevener tweeted that his brother was on life support due to COVID-19 complications. Reaction from the Puyallup community poured out on Twitter.
“Eli’s impact on our coaches and players was huge,” Puyallup’s football page tweeted. “He always had a smile and was one of the most fun to be around. His name will be in our hearts and his memory in our minds. Our thoughts and wishes are with Eli’s family.”
Puyallup baseball coach Marc Wiese said he knew Sevener since he was 11 or 12 years old.
“He was just a tremendous young man,” Wiese told The News Tribune. “For us, he was a hardworking dedicated young man that finally got his opportunity to shine as a senior on the mound for us. Just a gritty competitor.”
Wiese said he’ll remember Sevener as the catalyst for the team’s turnaround during the 2019 season. The Vikings had gotten off to a 5-5 start in league play and were in danger of missing the postseason.
“Our backs were up against the wall,” Wiese said. “He said, ‘Give me the ball, coach’ and pitched his rear end off.”
Puyallup won eight games in a row after that and captured a share of the Class 4A South Puget Sound League title.
“He was a big reason for that and won some big-time games for us,” Wiese said. “He competed like we expected all of our kids to. … He was just a great teammate. That senior group, they were extremely close. Those guys played together for a long time. I know he was beloved by his teammates. He was a great young man.”
The Puyallup baseball team will dedicate its 2021 season to Eli and plans to retire his No. 21 jersey this spring.
“The Puyallup Viking baseball family’s hearts are broken by the loss of one of their own. Eli will forever be missed, and we wish his family and community love and healing,” the team’s Twitter account posted Wednesday afternoon. “The 2021 Vikings will play in his honor.”