Around thirty-five players, parents and local softball enthusiasts travelled to Oklahoma City midweek and stayed through the weekend for a unique softball experience they would never forget. The experience turned into a much more memorable event than they could ever have imagined thanks to what Mother Nature had to offer Friday night as severe storms and tornadoes rolled through the area, which is part of the aptly named “Tornado Alley”.
In addition to seeing the games, some of those on the trip made sightseeing stops, with some visiting the Softball Hall of Fame and others visiting the Firefighters Hall of Fame Friday afternoon.
One of those on the trip, Karri Feeney of Memphis was there with her daughter when a tornado watch went into effect around three p.m. Friday. The watch turned into a warning later, however thanks to some quick thinking and the efforts of a former Memphis resident, some of those on the trip headed to shelter in Norman, Oklahoma at Oklahoma University, where Nicki Webber-Moore is a sports psychologist. Moore took them to an underground facility for shelter at the O.U. football stadium where they rode out the storms, including a tornado that passed three miles north of the stadium.
Others staying in Oklahoma City took shelter in a casino with an underground facility. All escaped injury during the severe weather.
Scotland County softball coach Kim Small tells KMEM the group included people of all ages, with players ranging from incoming freshmen to seniors who will take the field this coming year.
The Women’s College World Series games that were scheduled for Friday night were moved to Saturday when the weather was absolutely beautiful.
On the trip, many also made a side trip to Moore, Oklahoma to view the devastation of the massive F-5 tornado that ravaged that community two weeks ago.
Small says the whole weekend was a great bonding experience for the team, but it also left everyone appreciative for the truly important things they have in life.
Thankfully no one was hurt, and everyone arrived safely in Memphis this past Sunday.