LCpl. Tyler Troyer
(reprinted from GazetteTimes.com, November 21, 2005)
Coach remembers fallen Marine
Tyler Troyer, a Marine who died in Iraq on Saturday, pitched for West Albany High School
By Jennifer Moody
For the Gazette-Times
West Albany High School baseball coach Don Lien got a phone call from Tyler Troyer this past summer, just before Troyer and his fellow Marines headed for Iraq.
Troyer left a message on the Bulldog coach’s machine: “See you when I get back.”
It was the last time Lien would ever hear from his left-handed pitcher. Troyer, 21, died Saturday in Iraq, shot in the head during an insurgent attack.
“You can’t really say anything. It’s just unbelievable,” Lien said. “I can’t get the ‘why’ out of my head. He was so young.”
A 2002 West Albany graduate, Troyer played for Lien for four years, two of them on the varsity team.
He was the team’s only lefty pitcher, Lien said; a fierce competitor who helped take the team to the state playoffs for the first time in 41 years. Lien recalls he made second-team all-league as a senior.
“He was one of our go-to guys, not only as a starter but to close things down,” Lien said. “No perfect games, but things we had to grit through … (we knew), if we throw Troyer into that gritty situation, he’s the one gonna pull us through it.”
Troyer was especially good at turning criticism into perfected play, Lien said. In fact, when things got tight, fellow players sometimes tried to needle him into action.
“We’d try to tick him off a little bit, get him a little pissed off. He would go out there and just light it up,” Lien said. “He’d mow people down. Just that kind of kid, rises to the challenge.”
The Bulldogs are in the process of building a new locker room clubhouse, and the team had planned to include a picture “wall of fame.”
“There will definitely be a spot in there with his picture,” Lien said.
Lien said the news hit hard because of his closeness with every member of the team.
“All those kids, we battle with life lessons. They confide in us a whole bunch of things as coaches … I knew his family, I knew him,” he said.
“He thanked me over and over for being part of his life,” Lien said. “I wish I would have had time to thank him, too, for being part of mine.”