ALTO, TX (KTRE) - As storm cleanup continues in Alto and Cherokee County, student athletes are returning to the sports they love.
Monday night marked the first school event since the two tornadoes ripped through the town on Saturday when the Alto softball team traveled to Garrison for a game.
“We are not missing any of our girls,” head coach Lauren Reid said. “This lets us get away from it and give them a little break and to just do what we know how to do.”
The sporting events happening are all off campus. Games for the rest of the year will be at road sites while the district works on a plan to repair the buildings and athletic facilities that were effected.
“I was just in awe of how much the tornado did to our town,” Alto baseball player Todd Duplichain said. “It is hard going through town and seeing all the buildings torn down and destroyed.”
The Alto baseball team will return to action on Tuesday night against Douglass. When the school made the decision to move the game, it was thought to be played in Douglass, but SFA Baseball coach Johnny Cardenas stepped up and offered Jaycees field as a site for the game.
“The baseball community is a tight knit community,” Cardenas said. “The field was unplayable and they have one more home game left. Coach told me their senior day was going to be on the road and I said, ‘No it’s not. It needs to be on our field.’ I wanted to give back and the one thing we had going that they didn’t was a field so I offered ours. I had no trepidation about doing it.”
According to an SFA press release, admission to the game is free and all fans who plan on attending are welcome to bring items of need for the citizens of Alto who have been affected by the tornadoes. An area for donations will be set up at Jaycees Field.
For a community that has been turned upside down for the past three days, the site of a baseball field is a welcomed site.
“This is needed,” ALto Baseball Booster Club President Jason Duplichain said. “There are so many people that have lost so much. We were out helping people dig through the rubble. Just trying to salvage belongings. Just having a sporting event to help take our mind off of that will be big to get out of the disaster area and to some normalcy.”
The game between Alto and Douglass will start at 6 p.m. The Alto track team is also competing in the Area Track meet on Wednesday in San Augustine.