Spartan outfielder recalls childhood kidnapping; thankful for life in Tampa

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It's been a long and tumultuous road to the University of Tampa for Spartans outfielder Yorvis Torrealba.

"Here at the University of Tampa I'm loving it so far," said Torrealba.

Yorvis feels very fortunate to be in Tampa and playing baseball after going through a horrific ordeal at the age of 11.

Torrealba was kidnapped along with his two uncles and held captive for two days. It happened in his home country in Venezuela.

The kidnappers demanded $500,000 from his father, who was playing for the Colorado Rockies at the time. 

"After the first day it really started to hit me," said Torrealba. "It was pretty scary. All I did was cry. I wanted to speak to my mom, They wouldn't let me. I wanted to see my dad they didn't let me." 

Yoris was held for two days. His father presence was kept a secret while his mother tried to negotiate his release. Yorvis wasn't sure if he'd see his parents again.

"As soon as I saw my mom I broke down in tears and when I saw my dad I was, like wow, I didn't expect him to be over there," recalls Torrealba.

Shortly after his release with the ransom, his parents moved Yorvis to South Florida where he went on to play baseball at Stoneman Douglas High School. Yorvis graduated three years before last year's mass shooting; another tragic event that has majorly impacted his life.

"I actually knew people there," said Torrealba. "It was crazy. The first time I did was call my coach. Obviously, he didn't answer. I text him. I made sure everyone was OK. Thank God they came out OK, but it's still sad for the other 17 people that died."

"I don't take a day for granted whether it's with family or with baseball, anything," he added.

After two years playing with two junior colleges. Yorvis is now a Spartan looking to begin a new chapter and a quieter life in Tampa.