Softball players overcome tornado

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The Wheat Ridge Storm girls softball teams ought to consider changing their names to the Perfect Storm on the heels of their recent trip to Oklahoma City.

The two teams, made up of players between the ages of 14 and 18, traveled to the Sooner State on the final weekend of May for a tournament, where they competed well, but were no match for their toughest opponent – Mother Nature.

A tornado pounded the area around their hotel on May 31, causing players, parents and coaches to take shelter inside bathrooms. And some of the quick-thinking girls secured their noggins with batting helmets, as they packed into bathtubs like sardines.

The girls weren’t just there for softball. They, were on an altruistic mission to help victims of the deadly tornado that ravaged the Oklahoma town of Moore earlier that month.

The team brought a trailer full of food and clothing donations to give to the people of Moore.

“We were really excited about helping out the people of Moore,” said 18-year-old Darian Trengove. “It was really ironic that we were donating all this stuff, and we were the ones who needed help.”

The two teams drove about five hours from Wheat Ridge and stayed the night in Kansas on May 30 before traveling another five hours to Oklahoma City the next day.

There, they unloaded a trailer full of donations at a drop off location, before heading to a Quality Inn hotel to unwind.

That’s when things started to get ugly.

At about 5:30 p.m., the winds began to howl and the thunder started to roll in.

“The sirens must have gone off over a dozen times in about a half an hour,” said Scott Trengove, Darian’s father, and coach of both teams. “At one point, the rain was absolutely going sideways. I’ve never seen rain do that.”

Trengrove and his players took cover in a ground level bathroom.

Soon after, the entire hotel lost power.

Anitra Galicia, her 14-year-old daughter Maya, and other girls were on the opposite side of the hotel where Trengove and his group were taking cover. They also hunkered down inside a bathroom.

“We could hear the sirens blaring,” Galicia said. “You could heard the tornado through the vents and feel the air pressure being pulled out the room.”

The girls were terrified.

“I was waiting for the hotel to come down on us,” said Darian Trengove.

Suddenly, the tornado was gone, and it did not make contact with the hotel.

But it sure came close.

The team said that when they went outside after learning that the coast was clear, they saw uprooted trees, downed power lines, and a tractor trailer that was laying on its side.

Many of the girls went without food that day and they didn’t get much sleep that night.

Yet, they played softball that weekend any way. Some of the games had to be canceled. But the tournament was a go.

The Storm teams didn’t win as many games as they had hoped to that weekend, but they were proud of their efforts, considering everything that they had gone through.

“They definitely played the best they could, considering the circumstances,” Anitra Galicia said. “And they definitely lived an Oklahoma experience.”

Maya Galicia said that she was glad that the teams were able to help the Moore community, and grateful that they were able to play some games that weekend.

But she sure was thrilled to be leaving Oklahoma almost as soon as the last pitch was hurled.

“We didn’t want to stay there another night,” she said. “We wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.”