Baseball: South Torrance High mourns player killed in car crash

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Grief counselors were on campus at South Torrance High on Wednesday trying to help students and faculty cope with the news that sophomore baseball player Jesse Esphorst Jr. was killed in a car crash Tuesday night.

Torrance police said two cars ran through a red light and crashed into a van carrying Esphorst and his father at 10:09 p.m. at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Crest Road. A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. Another driver fled the scene. Esphorst’s father was seriously injured.

Esphorst, who started at shortstop as a freshman, had hit a home run hours earlier in South Torrance’s 13-3 victory over Hawthorne. He was considered one of the top young players in the community.


Dozens of South Torrance students gathered at the baseball field on Wednesday to share their grief. A silent vigil to be held at the baseball field at 3 p.m. Wednesday is open to the public.

“It’s incredibly tragic,” Coach Grady Sain said. “The school has counselors in place. We’re really allowing the students to go through the grieving process. We’ve opened up the baseball field as a place to congregate and do what they need to do. Right now, the school is grieving.”

Said Principal Scott McDowell: “Our students have been helping each other all day.”

Esphorst, 16, was well known and well liked in the community. He played for local youth teams.

“His impact was far greater than South High,” Sain said. “Everybody in the baseball community in Torrance and neighboring communities know Jesse. He was special.”