Eldorado High School , the Eagles’ baseball program and Albuquerque’s prep baseball community were reeling Monday after learning that one of Eldorado’s varsity players, sophomore Blake Thies, had died.
Thies, 16, was found dead Monday morning. The cause of his death is unknown.
“He was my best friend. He was a great kid who just wanted to please everyone,” Hope Christian’s Joey Palamara said on his Twitter account.
Indeed, Thies’ passing left many people numb.
“I’m still not able to process it,” said La Cueva sophomore Dawson Burton, who said he had known Thies for nearly 10 years. “I’m just in shock, honestly. He was the most thoughtful person I ever knew.”
Eldorado baseball coach Reid Figiel learned of the news when he arrived at school Monday morning. He said only that Thies’ body had been found in the morning. Then he informed his team.
“My boys were taken by surprise,” Figiel said. “It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.”
The Eagles canceled their practices Monday and today, and their scheduled game Wednesday against Highland was postponed.
“The team took it pretty hard,” Figiel said. “It’s a close-knit group of guys that really try to push each other.”
Thies, in his second year on varsity, played right field. His final at-bat for the Eagles was a two-out, game-tying single in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Sandia on Saturday.
“He was just a great kid,” said St. Pius sophomore pitcher Hayden Walker, who played club ball last summer with Thies and had known him about four years. “He was just always one of those kids, no matter what, he could become friends with anybody he met.”
Friends all over the metro area were grieving Thies’ death, particularly those closest to him at Eldorado. The Rio Rancho High baseball team said a prayer for Thies after their practice Monday.
“One thing about Blake, he had an infectious laugh,” said Rams shortstop, sophomore Gunner Gouldsmith. “He could light up a room in a minute.”
“Everyone seemed to love him,” said Sandia senior Derrick Chavez, who played last year at Eldorado with Thies before transferring. “He was a great athlete and a good person.”
Among the social media reaction to Thies’ death was this touching tribute on Twitter: “rip to the sweetest soul, you will be so truly missed blake”
“I don’t know how to react,” Gouldsmith said. “It’s just crazy to believe he’s gone.”
There was at least one vigil held for Thies on Monday night at Eastdale Little League. Burton said he played with Thies at Roadrunner LL.
“We actually had talked (on) Saturday. We were gonna hang out,” Burton said.
Thies was an integral player for Eldorado both as a freshman and a sophomore.
“He was always the life of the party,” said another La Cueva High sophomore, Xavier Torres. “He was always smiling, whenever you talked to him. You could be a complete stranger, and he’d be the same person around everyone. He was a genuine person.”
The Eagles’ next games will be Saturday against Manzano, though this will certainly be a difficult week for the program, Figiel said.
“He (was) a fun-loving, funny, hilarious kid,” an emotional Figiel said. “He was like the glue. It’s gonna ripple through everyone pretty hard.”