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By Emily Rasmussen and Zach Cavanagh
Tears and reassuring smiles filled the stands of a San Juan Capistrano Little League All-Star game on Tuesday, June 26, as the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) and Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) honored Long Beach Fire Capt. David Rosa, who was fatally shot responding to an emergency incident on Monday, June 25.
Prior to the game, OCFA’s San Juan Capistrano Engine No. 7 and Ladera Ranch Engine No. 3 and LBFD Engine No. 3 went out on the field and held a memorial and moment of silence in honor of Rosa. A 17-year veteran of the LBFD, Rosa was a San Juan Capistrano resident who was involved with San Juan Capistrano Little League, serving as president, umpire-in-chief (in charge of all of league’s umpires), board member, manager and coach.
Many of the coaches and players of the San Juan Capistrano Little League wore patches that read “Rosa 10” on their jerseys.
“It’s a special thing to be able to honor somebody that poured his heart out for these kids and for our league,” SJCLL All-Star coach Cesar Loya said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation, but we feel honored to be able to do this for someone that did so much for everyone. It’s a special recognition, and just to have so many people come out and be a part of that made it extra special for all of us.”
Members of the Little League, baseball and San Juan Capistrano community gathered to remember Rosa. The game on the adjacent field between Ladera Ranch Little League and Viejo Little League was paused to allow the players and coaches to join the on-field ceremony. SJCLL and San Clemente Little League lined up along each baseline.
Elijah Robles, 16, was at the memorial and was coached by Rosa. Wearing his JSerra High School baseball cap with “Dave Rosa” inscribed by a marker on the right-hand side of the hat, Robles said he also played alongside Sam, Rosa’s son.
“Coach Rosa was a great man, he coached me for two years and I had the privilege of knowing him as just a man, an umpire, he was an amazing coach and an even more amazing father,” Robles said. “It’s really disappointing to see him go.”
Rosa is survived by his wife, Lynley, and sons Alec, 25, and Samuel, 16, who live in San Juan Capistrano. Todd Strane, immediate past president of the SJC Little League, said Rosa was a current member of the league since he joined nearly 9 years ago.
“Dave was a class act across the board,” Strane said. “I don’t say this because of what happened. I say this because he was a close friend of mine. We worked closely together for three years. He was tops. Everything he did was for the kids, for the best of the kids and to grow the league. He was a class act.”
Rosa’s son, Sam, just aged out last year and is currently attending Saddleback Valley Christian High School. According to the SVC roster on www.maxpreps.com, Sam continues to play baseball.
“(Dave) was always easy-going, cordial. He was always caring for the kids, caring for his son,” Strane said.