Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 23, 2013

West Virginia's baseball team rushes to the rescue in Moore

OKLAHOMA CITY — West Virginia pitcher Harrison Musgrave has spent his entire life in the hills of West Virginia. He didn’t know what a tornado siren was — let alone the damage that can be done by swirling winds.

“I didn’t even know that they were going off,” Musgrave said. “I didn’t even know that they had sirens. I know I feel like a total idiot, but I heard them go off and I just thought it was an alarm going off.”

Musgrave and his teammates on the West Virginia baseball team got a heavy dose of reality Monday when an EF-5 tornado ripped through the town of Moore, less than 10 miles away from where the Mountaineers are staying.

“It’s really eye opening,” Musgrave said. “In West Virginia, we’ll never get a tornado. We don’t really know what it’s like to feel the destruction and to be around that type of situation. The way it happened was truly heartbreaking.”

That’s where the team’s story takes a little bit of a twist. As they watched the carnage unfold on the television, players weren’t asking, “How can we help?” or “Should we help?” Instead, they demanded it with a unanimous “We’re going to help.”

“As soon as the storm went through town, we were all glued to the television of course,” West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said. “Some of my guys texted me and said, ‘Is there anything we can do to help?’ We started trying to get the team down into Moore to help.”

The Mountaineers never made it all the way to Moore Monday — being turned away by law enforcement officials. Even that didn’t stop them from lending a helping hand.

Armed with a full arsenal of players, the West Virginia bus rolled into a local grocery store and promptly raided its shelves, filling up more than 20 carts and purchasing somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000 in supplies all for a devastated town nearly 1,200 miles away from the Morgantown, W. Va., campus.

“We wanted to try to find a way to help because you feel so helpless,” Mazey said. “We just decided to go to Walmart, get every guy a shopping cart and tell them to fill it up with diapers, shoes, baby clothes — anything that you’d think people that would have to start over would need. We just loaded up all the grocery carts, went through the checkout line and loaded the bus up.”

Mazey is no stranger to natural disasters. He has experienced hurricanes, earthquakes and even a tornado warning during his first trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., as a member of the TCU staff.

Yet, none of this could prepare him for the devastation that surrounded the Moore community.

“My first experience with a tornado was the very first game I had ever coached at the College World Series in Omaha,” Mazey said. “At the conclusion of the game the sirens went off and we huddled in the basement of the hotel in uniform. ... I’ve lived a lot of different places, where I’ve dealt with tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and all that stuff.

“I kind of had an idea, but still, it’s one of those things that you never really expect it to happen to you. I was watching it on TV and we were just anxious to help in any way we could.”

It may have sounded like a lot of work, racing up and down the aisles looking for life’s essentials, but Musgrave admitted that it was also kind of enjoyable. Not necessarily in the sense that you might think — running around the store with virtually a blank check — but the fact that they were helping others.

“I think we enjoyed it for the purpose we were going for — to help people more than just grabbing random stuff that we didn’t have to pay for,” Musgrave said. “It was good. We met a lady who lost everything and we gave her some stuff while we were there. It was a big deal. I think everybody enjoyed what it meant to do it.”

West Virginia’s efforts also helped rally other Big 12 teams. TCU brought buckets full of Gatorade and diapers to supply centers and Kansas also chipped in with its fair share of supplies.

And what about the Mountaineers? Well, they too were able to deliver their supplies — unloading a bus full of items in Norman Tuesday.

“To think that it was so close to where we were at, it really is terrible,” Musgrave said. “Five miles more in our direction, who knows what would have happened. ... Where most of us are from, we’ve never seen anything like that up close. It’s just terrifying.”

Without a doubt, West Virginia’s efforts have made them favorites outside of the two Oklahoma schools as the Big 12 Championship begins Thursday at Oklahoma City’s Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. While it remains to be scene whether or not the team takes a Big 12 championship back to Morgantown, the Mountaineers will definitely be taking something back apart from Musgrave’s Big 12 Pitcher of the Year award — plenty of stories.

“There will be some stories,” Musgrave said. “They’ll be realistic stories, telling how scary tornados are. You see them on the news and you don’t really worry about them because they’re thousands of miles away, but when they’re that close — 5 or 10 miles away — you kind of watch the news more and listen to what people are saying.”

“Whether we come here and win any games or lose games, no matter what happens when our kids get older and have children of their own, when they look back at this week, they’re not going to think about baseball games,” Mazey said. “They’re going to think about the help we tried to provide for people, and hopefully the impact we made on some people who were in pretty good need.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • ropin-make-a-wish.jpg Dirteater, others help Make-A-Wish

    The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5, with kids 6 and under free.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo-for-Shinn-story.jpg Coaches preview Sooners season

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived at Journey Church on Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks