It's funny, isn't it? How your deepest sorrow can lead to your greatest joy?
Cal softball pitcher Jocelyn Forest stood on the mound in the College World Series, staring. But she didn't see the catcher. She saw her older sister, Erika, throat slashed by a knife, her stomach carved up, dead, allegedly at the hand of her husband.
How was Jocelyn supposed to get that out of her mind? How could she forget when Erika's house in Orcutt, Calif., the crime scene, was closed off for three days by detectives, who couldn't let Jocelyn and her mother, Vicki, go in and get something to dress Erika in for the funeral?
That was a weird feeling, shopping with her mom for an outfit for Erika to wear in the casket. Something soft, they thought. Erika liked anything soft. They bought a blue angora sweater, a pair of khakis and slippers "to keep her feet warm," says Vicki.
Jocelyn, of course, wouldn't be caught dead or alive in an outfit like that. "My two opposite daughters," says Vicki. "One, so athletic. The other, so feminine. Yet they were so close."
Growing up five years apart in Santa Maria, Calif., Jocelyn used to sit at her sister's feet and watch her get ready for school. Truth is, one of the last things Jocelyn said to Erika was, "You were always my idol."
Erika smiled and said, "And now the roles are reversed."
That's because her tomboy sister had become one of the best pitchers in the country, hero to thousands of girls who don't wear angora either. With a wicked riser, a nasty changeup and a titanium will, the senior righthander was leading the Golden Bears one last time in a run for the national title. That is, until the afternoon of Sunday, April 14.
That's when they found Erika, 26, mutilated in her kitchen. Her husband, Roger Jantz, was also there, stab wounds on his wrists, arms and stomach. Apparently, he'd tried to kill himself and failed. Thankfully, their 10-year-old son, Taylor, was at his grandmother's. Jantz, a 32-year-old former delivery man, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment last week.
"Erika said he was depressed," Jocelyn recalls. "Their marriage was over. She'd been telling him to move out for six months. She wasn't even wearing her wedding ring anymore. Erika said he'd made remarks about suicide, but she didn't mink he was serious."