Following tornado, Rapid City softball team returns with 'Moore' - KOTA Territory News

Following tornado, Rapid City softball team returns with 'Moore' in their hearts

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When the Rapid City Kraze headed south last week on a trip to Oklahoma for their youth softball tournament, it turned into something dangerous, unexpected, and in the end, life changing.

Only ten days removed from the disastrous Tornado that claimed the lives of two dozen people in Moore , Oklahoma on May 20th, the 11 teammates found themselves in the tornado shelter at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Oklahoma City.

"I was really really scared," said teammate Paetyn Swigart. "That I wouldn't be able to come home and see all my friends and family." 

A very real fear the girls, their families, coaches and others, who found themselves waiting for two hours while a tornado ripped through the area.

"It was hard to see," said teammate Syd Dormann.  "I haven't seen anything like that before." 

While in the shelter, some of the girls met a family of four after one of the brothers shared his cookie with them.

"In that time that we were in the storm shelter we struck up a conversation with a family from Moore," said team mom Nicole Swigart. "We discovered that this mom and dad and these two little boys five and three had lost absolutely everything."

But the Wall family ended up surviving the tornado after getting into the bathtub and covering themselves with a mattress. 

After meeting the family from Moore, and making it through a very tense time in the shelter, the teammates came up with an idea. 

We went to the college world series but we didn't get to go to a set of the games," said Paetyn Swigart. "So we cashed in our tickets and put all the money together and gave it to them."

In addition, the girls began to ask people in their hotel for donations for the family of four, and in the end the team raised hundreds of dollars.

"The grandma came up to me and said that we were a blessing," said Nicole Swigart. "Because she wanted her grandsons to have something positive to remember out of being scared to death."

"I didn't expect to go down there helping someone,' said Dormann. "So when we do that was really cool being able to help someone all the way from South Dakota."

It was a life lesson co-coach Todd Maiden says the girls will carry with them forever.

"In 10 years when you ask them how you did at the tournament in Oklahoma City, I doubt that any of them will even remember scores or who they played or that they even won," said Maiden. "What they're remember is what they brought back in their hearts and that's that family. We left Rapid City thinking that we were going to play some softball and we came back home with Moore in our hearts.

The Kraze came in first place at the softball tournament.

They then gave their banner and trophies to the Walls, who plan on putting them in their new home, which they'll move into June 17th.

"I can't put into words that the team meant to us," said Bethany Wall in a phone interview. "They could have came and left, they didn't have to do that.

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