WILLIAMSPORT, Md. (AP) " Jim Adenhart's voice cracked with emotion as he described his final day with his son during a funeral service Friday night for Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart.
The 22-year-old had just shut out the Oakland Athletics over six innings, and a proud Jim Adenhart recalled giving his son a big hug.
"He said to me, 'What did you think of that hook I threw to (Jason) Giambi?"' Jim Adenhart told the nearly 1,800 in attendance.
Later that night, Nick Adenhart left his father to celebrate with friends. Jim Adenhart would never see his son alive again.
Friends, family and fans arrived in baseball gear at the memorial service to celebrate the life of Adenhart, who died in an auto accident on April 9. Those wearing baseball clothing at the service did so at the request of the family.
"He truly made it to the major leagues," Jim Adenhart said. "He lived his life's dream. I don't think too many people can say that."
The funeral service was held at Williamsport High School, where Adenhart starred before becoming a major leaguer.
Outside the gym, a large circle containing Adenhart's name and his No. 34 with the Angels was displayed. Inside, a video depicted him at various stages of his life, celebrating his outgoing personality and prowess on the mound.
Several photo montages were set up between floral arrangements sent by the Angels, Major League Baseball, the Double-A team where he played in Arkansas, Angels teammate Torii Hunter and the Boston Red Sox. There was also a T-shirt adorned by a child that read, "AN ANGEL NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN."
"A life well lived, a friend never forgotten," said the Rev. Josh Carter, a high school teammate before Adenhart transferred to Williamsport.
Adenhart was remembered as a confident young man who never relented in his quest to make to the big leagues. And then, when the right-hander finally earned a spot in the Angels rotation, it was all taken away.
Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, was charged with three counts of murder last week. He ran a red light in his minivan and hit the car carrying Adenhart and his friends, police said. Courtney Stewart, 20, and Henry Pearson, 25, also died in the crash.
At the memorial service, Adenhart's step father, Duane Gigeous, read an open letter from Adenhart's mother to her son written after the accident.
"Dear Nick: You left the earth on top of the world," Gigeous read. "...You got the final call up, the one we are all striving to achieve. You are an angel forever."
David Warrenfeltz, a close friend of Adenhart's and his catcher when both were teenagers, said, "The older he got, the more humble he got. There are people who have never heard of Hagerstown or Williamsport except for knowing that's where Nick Adenhart came from. I can't think of a better person to represent us."
Jim Adenhart spoke at length about the final day of his son's life, but ended his speech by recalling the day Nick Adenhart entered the world.
"August 24, 1986, was and always will be the greatest day in my life," Jim Adenhart said. "I love you, Nick."