REMEMBERING JOHN ALTOBELLI

Family and friends remember UH baseball alum killed in California crash

Photo courtesy of ABC13/Orange Coast College

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

A University of Houston alum was with basketball legend Kobe Bryant and seven others when their helicopter crashed near Los Angeles and killed all nine people on board, multiple sources told ABC News and ESPN.

Orange Coast College confirmed long-time head baseball coach John Altobelli was one of the victims in the deadly helicopter crash.

Sources told ESPN the retired NBA star and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the victims in the Sunday, January 26 morning crash. The Los Angeles Sheriff said nine people were on board, including the pilot, but would not release the identities of the victims.

The University of Houston, where Altobelli graduated from and was once assistant coach, released a statement confirming that Altobelli's wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, were also among the victims.

ABC13 spoke with John's younger brother, Tony, on the evening of January 26.

"I think we're all just kind of hurting right now. We're all kind of shell shocked," Tony said. "I know it hasn't hit me 100 percent yet, that's why I think I can still talk to you right now."

Local coach, Russell Stockton, played under Altobelli and was his friend. Stockton remembers him as a successful coach, winning four titles for Orange Coast College.

Continue on CultureMap to read the statement released by the University of Houston.

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It was a long night for Lance McCullers. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images.

When it rains, it pours. Boy did it pour. The Astros lost Game Three of the World Series 7-0 to the Phillies in Philadelphia. The game was supposed to be played on Halloween, but MLB decided to postpone the whole series by a day because of the rain. It must've been enough to throw off the Astros' momentum. The bats came out flat and stayed that way. Meanwhile, the pitching staff gave up a World Series record-tying five home runs in the blowout loss.

Bryce Harper got the action started with a two-run blast in the bottom of the first. Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh hit solo shots in the bottom of the third. Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth followed by a solo blast from Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies seemed to be sitting on Astros' starter Lance McCullers Jr's pitches. Either they knew the breaking stuff was coming or sat on the fastball. They shelled one of the Astros' best pitchers to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

The bats struck out seven times total. Chas McCormick and David Hensley each struck out twice. However, they also had a hit a piece, and those were two of the five hits this team managed in the game. So, there's that.

Another World Series appearance, another NL East opponent, another series deficit. The Astros have been here before. They were down in 2017, then came back and beat the Dodgers. No one wants them to win. Most of the media is still bringing up the sign stealing scandal. Opposing fans are relentlessly showering Astros' fans with cheating this and cheating that. The conspiracy theories abound. Misinformation is still very pervasive. I wouldn't have it any other way.

This team is resilient. They've had their backs against the wall before. They know how to come out swinging. Literally and figuratively. I expect Game Four to be an Astros win and the series tied 2-2 heading into the pivotal Game Five. Justin Verlander will take the mound, get his first World Series win, and this thing heads back to Minute Maid Park for Game Six with the home team up 3-2.

From there, closing out the series in front of the home crowd will be a fitting cap to proving all the haters wrong. This is a great team and a great organization. Jim Crane needs to bring James Click back and continue to allow him to build this thing. If Click isn't back, I hope Crane finds someone else who'll be able to keep thing rolling. That said. Let's focus on winning Game Four and quieting that raucous Philly crowd.

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