TAMPA , Fla. — On Feb. 14, 2018, outfielder Yorvis Torrealba returned to his locker at the College of Central Florida after a game and found his phone full of concerning and distraught messages.
A gunman had opened fire in the halls of Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, his high school, in Parkland, Fla., earlier that day, taking the lives of 17 students and staff.
It left Torrealba in disarray.
“It was a shock. I didn’t believe it at first,” he said, before practice this week. “I reached out to my coach, the people I knew down there and made sure they were OK.
“I actually went the next day to do the candlelight [vigil] and everything. During the summer I also worked out at [Stoneman] Douglas a couple times.”
Torrealba, son of former Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, came from his native Venezuela as an eight-year-old. He played 67 games for Stoneman Douglas from 2012-2015.
He transferred this year to the University of Tampa from CCF, hoping to move past the tragedy with a new look on his future.
“It teaches you to not take life for granted,” Torrealba said. “To just come out here every day and give it your best. You never know when that last day is going to be. It’s crazy to think about it. I was at the same place just years ago and it could have happened to me.”
The shooting hit even closer to home than just coaches and staff.
“My cousin went to school there at the time,” he said. “Family members that I knew were down there, I reached out to them and made sure they were OK, but it was crazy. Tragic.”
Amidst the chaos of the day that affected so many Florida families, his was able to stay safe. No pain – only thoughts of appreciation for what they still have.
He has risen through the collegiate ranks and has found a home on the Spartans team. Starting a new journey in a top Division-II program, Torrealba will take his experiences with him as he hopes to hear his name announced at the upcoming 2019 MLB Draft.