Former St. John’s player in Oklahoma for tornado, aftermath

May 22, 2013
Bobby Boyd
Former St. John’s baseball player Bobby Boyd, now at WVU, helped with tornado relief efforts in Oklahoma. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

When I filed a brief item Tuesday afternoon about former St. John’s baseball player Bobby Boyd and his West Virginia University teammates being near the site of the tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., the previous day, I had not yet been able to track down Boyd to ask him about the experience.

I caught up with the sophomore center fielder Tuesday night, shortly after his team had returned from delivering clothes and diapers and other supplies to the University of Oklahoma, where many of the displaced are being temporarily housed.

The Mountaineers had gone on a shopping spree Monday to buy items for the relief effort. The team has been in Oklahoma for the past week, first for a series with Oklahoma State in Stillwater and then in Oklahoma City to prepare for the Big 12 tournament, whose start has been delayed from Wednesday to Thursday.

So for the past couple of days, Boyd and company have been more concerned about the aftermath of 200 mph winds than 90 mph fastballs. He got a close look on the brief bus ride to Norman on Tuesday.

“Everything in sight was just obliterated,” Boyd said. “Trees torn out of the ground from their roots, roofs off, power lines just down on the ground. Whatever was in its path, it just tore it right up. After watching the news all day [Monday], I kind of expected to see what we saw, but you can’t really know until you’re actually driving through it and walking through it. Wherever that tornado was it just tore everything to shreds.

“When we were at Walmart, a nurse approached us because she saw what we were doing and she broke down in tears because her house had gotten torn to shreds and she wasn’t aware until about 5 o’clock in the afternoon that her kids were okay. She was just telling us how thankful she was for what we were doing for the community. As the lady described to us, really nothing mattered after she found out that her family was okay. She said she didn’t care about her house or anything like that. One of the people at the baseball field had a similar story. Just seeing the looks on the faces. …They were pretty shocked.

“I’m just extremely happy with WVU and the way that our baseball program was able to help out the victims around here and do what we could. I just feel for the people who were affected and just wish this would have never happened.”

Boyd, named Tuesday as an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection, is hitting .320 with 30 runs, 24 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

In a preseason coaches’ poll, the Mountaineers (31-25, 13-11) were picked to finish last in their first year in the conference.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 2

Round in which No. 1 Madison and No. 3 Lake Braddock could meet in the 16-team Virginia AAA Northern Region baseball tournament. The teams would play in a region quarterfinal at 1 p.m. Monday at Madison if they each win their first-round games. Madison hosts Edison on Friday. Lake Braddock, upset by South County in the Patriot District final, hosts Chantilly on Friday.

BREAKFAST LINKS:

Sherwood topped Northwest in a Maryland 4A softball semifinal to continue a 41-game unbeaten streak.

Churchill, which entered the postseason with a losing record, saw its improbable postseason run end with a 4-3 loss to Catonsville in the Maryland 4A baseball semifinals. In the 3A and 2A semis, La Plata moved on and Patuxent got beat.

Marriotts Ridge beat Century for its second state lacrosse title in three years.

McLean’s Nik Padmanabhan and Oakton’s Lizzie Stewart won Northern Region tennis championships.

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

Oakton at Madison girls’ lacrosse, 5 p.m.

These neighboring Vienna schools, meeting in the Northern Section semifinals, seem to find each other in the postseason. Oakton prevailed 12-10 in the same round last season, and Madison beat Oakton in the region and state finals in 2011.

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