Jim Routon, the man whose image became one of the defining moments of the 2013 Moore tornado, threw out the first pitch at the opening game of Oklahoma’s NCAA softball super-regional series against Tennessee on Friday at Marita Hynes Field in Norman.
Routon was photographed hugging his 7-year-old neighbor, Hezekiah, when Routon found him amid the destruction of the tornado. Hezekiah was a student at Briarwood Elementary, which was destroyed by the tornado.
Routon threw out the first pitch Friday night, then leapt into the air in celebration. He also joined in with the Sooners in their pregame huddle around the pitcher’s circle, swaying back and forth, and chanting.
CHAMBERLAIN STARTS AT FIRST BASE
After being relegated to only hitting at last week’s regional tournament because of a knee injury, OU’s Lauren Chamberlain returned to the field on defense Friday.
She started at first base with a brace on her right knee.
Brittany Williams, who started at first base last week, shifted to right field. Erin Miller took over the designated player spot.
OU catcher Whitney Ellis experienced what had to be the longest at-bat of her career — about 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Ellis was at the plate with a 2-2 count when officials suspended the game because of lightning in the area.
After the delay, Ellis returned to the plate for two more pitches, lining out to third base to end the Sooners’ half of the third inning.
A sellout crowd of 1,718 — the second-largest crowd in Marita Hynes Field history — attended Friday’s game. And despite the long rain delay, a large majority of the fans stuck around to see the end of the game, which came more than five hours after the first pitch.