Fellow Little Leaguers share moment of silence

2012-04-25T00:00:00Z 2014-08-05T10:14:02Z Fellow Little Leaguers share moment of silenceCarmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 25, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Fellow baseball players of Isabel Mercedes Celis' stood at attention on Field 2 at Freedom Park on Tuesday as the sun began to set.

They put their ball caps over their hearts and observed a moment of silence, praying for their friend - known to them as "Isa". Number 4 - her number - was on each player's uniform.

During that moment, Francisco Yslas, 7, said he was thinking: "For Isa to come back soon and safe."

The youngsters, along with other Freedom Little League players, joined 12 other teams in the league that took part in a moment of silence.

Freedom Park was where baseball players and their families last saw Isabel on Friday. She and her family arrived at the park, 5000 E. 29th St., at about 6:30 p.m. and remained until after 9:30 because her brother, Julian, was playing for the Yankees - the team their father, Sergio Celis, coaches.

The close-knit baseball families learned Saturday of Isabel's disappearance when police went to the park to see if she was there. Her team played at 9 a.m.

"That's when our world fell apart," said Rebecca Hanna, a Freedom Little League board member and close friend of the Celis family. "We want to help the players and the whole league cope with Isa's disappearance. We have been traumatized by it all."

At the vigil, as Isabel's team - the Coach Pitch Diamondbacks - tied purple ribbons to the ball field fence, tears formed in the eyes of parents, grandparents and community supporters. Purple is Isabel's favorite color, and her teammates also let purple balloons float into the sky.

Joe Vega, a friend of the Celis family, gave a message from Sergio Celis: "Thank you for all your support and prayers." Vega said the family could not attend the vigil, adding that they are experiencing the disappearance of their little girl as though it was the first day.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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