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West Virginia baseball team pitches in for Moore

Players, coaches and staff go on a Walmart shopping spree, donating necessary items to the relief effort.
by Anthony Slater Modified: May 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm •  Published: May 21, 2013

The drive from downtown Oklahoma City to Norman usually takes around 30 minutes.

But on Tuesday, navigating through traffic and an altered route, it took the West Virginia baseball team more than 90 minutes to get there.

No matter. Coach Randy Mazey and his players were determined to make an impact, fueled by a passion for helping the displaced victims of Monday's Moore tornado.

So the Mountaineer coaches, players and support staff, all 37 of them, packed into a crowded team bus outside their downtown hotel and prepared to make the winding trek toward the University of Oklahoma dorms, where many victims were being temporarily housed.

With them, the Mountaineers brought supplies. Lots of them.

A night before, after hearing of the horrors and seeing the devastation on television, a few WVU players texted Mazey, telling the coach they wanted to help.

He agreed, having seen firsthand the devastation of the 2011 Joplin, Mo. tornado, while at a baseball tournament in the Southwest Missouri town.

“I had never experienced anything like it,” Mazey said of the immediate aftermath in Joplin.

Like many, they were turned away from the disaster zone, a place reserved for first responders.

So the team, in town for the Big 12 Tournament, went to a local Walmart and gathered helpful supplies.

In all, Mazey estimated they spent more than $4,000, expected to come out of the WVU baseball fund, to purchase flashlights, batteries, clothes, diapers, towels, air mattresses and other disaster necessities.

And in another act of generosity, they bought an entire shopping cart full of supplies and food for a displaced woman they met at Walmart.

“She had mud on her and she was crying, so that just hit me right there,” WVU outfielder Brady Wilson said. “She told us she was at work, her husband was at work and her kids were at school and they were separated until 10:30 last night, so that's scary.”

Packed with players and supplies, the bus finally left OKC at around 2:15 on Tuesday afternoon.

On its long route to Norman, the bus passed through Newcastle, an impacted town. And near the interstate, a large steel bridge had been completely dislodged from its substructure, giving the team its first glimpse at the devastation.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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