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High school softball team, community rallies around player whose mom died in crash

Haven McGraw's mother, Linda Lee, was the team mom to the Washington Court House Blue Lions. She tragically died in a crash last month.

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio — There are five words tattooed on Haven McGraw's arm: "I love you thiiis much." Words that her mother wrote all the time. 

"She would say I love you this much, no matter what," McGraw said.

McGraw shares an unbreakable bond with her mother.

"I didn't have a name for seven days and then one day it hit her. Haven because she said 'I was her Safe Haven,'" McGraw said.

McGraw is a senior at Washington Court House High School. And she is a leader on their softball team, with her ultimate team mom by her side, every step of the way.

Credit: Haven McGraw

But on April 2, 42-year-old Linda Lee was killed in a car crash.

"I miss her so much. The first thing I thought was about graduation, I don't know why. My mom was just a really big fan of mine. I wish she could have seen that," McGraw said.

McGraw lost a mother, a best friend and the Blue Lions lost their team mom. 

"I was just numb, I just didn't know what to do." Greg Knisley, Blue Lions coach said when he learned the news. 

But it was in that outfield, with hearts full of sadness, is where the Blue Lions found their answer.

"Our angel in the outfield. She watched over the team for the rest of the season," Kinsley said.

The team hung a banner in the outfield with a picture of Linda and Haven to remind them that she is always watching over them.

McGraw's teammates rallied around her and made sure their friend was OK in a time of such tragedy. Her community did as well with cards pouring in from other teams, prayers before games and one team raising money to help pay off McGraw's car. 

Credit: Haven McGraw

"It just means so much that someone took the time to do that," McGraw said.

McGraw went on to walk on Senior Day surrounded by so many loved ones, and she walked across the stage at graduation. 

"I just know that she is always with me," McGraw said.

Whenever she needs a moment of her mother's love, she will always have those five words: I love you thiiis much.

Credit: Haven McGraw

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