UPDATE: Area teams helping Murray Co. baseball team after tornado touchdown
Murray County High School's baseball team is still without a home field after an EF-1 tornado swept through a few weeks ago. While they are still working to rebuild, other teams in the community are helping out.
UPDATE: Murray County High School's baseball team is still without a home field after an EF-1 tornado swept through a few weeks ago.
While they are still working to rebuild, other teams in the community are helping out.
Thursday, was the first scheduled home game for the Indians since the storm hit, against Haralson County High School. Because the Indians' field was not ready to host a home game their crosstown neighbor and rival, North Murray high School.
The rival team loaned their field to the Indians for the home game. Gilmer and Southeast have offered their facilities for future games as well.
Senior Hayden Beusie says he's grown to love his school's field and has taken pride in competing on it.
"Playing on this field is so much fun and with the tornado it makes it sad," said Beusie. "My first thoughts were that we wouldn't get to play on this field again, and that this was our season, but things have changed a little."
The county's recreation and parks crew, parents, and students have helped clear the metal siding, torn bleachers and debris that covered the field after the twister hit.
Head coach Kim Alderdice said the community's help has been incredible.
"They brought mowing crews and raking crews and stuff. Just got them out here one day; just started pulling stuff out of the woods, pulling stuff off the fields so we could get mowers out on the field," said Alderdice. "If you let the grass grow then when it comes time to play a game on the field; the field's a mess."
Alderdice is in his second year coaching Murray County. After struggling through last year's season, winning only two games, this year's team has started 3-8. He said he believes the team is growing and the storm has strengthened the team's bond.
"We've just come together a lot more way before this happened, and that's kind of helped I think in a way because the kids were like wow that's our field," said Alderdice.
Brent Tucker, the head baseball coach at Ringgold High School, said he understands the team's loss.
Ringgold was hit by a tornado in 2011, that killed eight people.
"Just a feeling of what are we going to do now? You know just turning and looking because you got your season going on, you want to do what's best for the players, so you just start looking at where are we going to practice? Where are we going to play?" said Tucker.
Tucker and his team are collecting donations at their games to help with Murray's repairs.
"I don't know how much we will get exactly, but we're going to try our best," said Tucker.
Alderdice said he's grateful for the overwhelming amount of support, and that coming together is what's most important.
"[It's] just very encouraging, and it's all about bigger things than baseball games," said Alderdice. "You know we want to win those baseball games, but before it and after it's about bigger things than that."
In the meantime, Hayden said he and his team won't let this setback keep them from giving their all.
"Gotta get those wins for the field."
Alderdice tells Channel 3, school and county officials have submitted all of the insurance paperwork and bids for labor to complete the remaining repairs. He said if everything goes as planned, the team will be back on its field by their next home game on March 28, against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.
PREVIOUS STORY: The National Weather Service confirms it was an EF-1 tornado that touched down in Murray County Wednesday afternoon.
Winds reached 90 miles per hour, causing damage to homes, businesses and the Murray County High School baseball field.
The baseball team has called the field home for the past 20 years, but Greg Linder, the school's athletic director, said he could hardly recognize it after the storm.
"Shocking when we first came out last night the amount of damage. I got phone calls and everything, but the amount of damage was really surprising," said Linder. "It's disappointing for our players, you know, they're kind of sent without at home so to speak."
The field was covered with metal siding and debris, the stadium's fencing no longer stands, and the bleachers are folded and torn apart.
Linder said central office staff, county and city officials are working quickly to make repairs, so the team can finish their season that kicked off mid-February.
"[There's a] Couple [of] facilities that have some doors blown in that we need to get secured as quickly as we can, and the next thing is trying to get the field playable so getting the fence in back of the field clear of debris so the guys can come and practice."
It's not clear how much the repairs will cost or how long they will take, but the community is eager to help.
READ MORE | NWS confirms EF-1 tornado in Murray County
"All the help we can get would be great, but right now we just have to wait on the officials to come in and give us the OK to do it, and I think whenever we get an opportunity we'll have a lot of people to help us out and support in different ways," said Linder.
It's a community effort Linder said will help get the ball rolling.
"That will come through to our kids you know the disappointment but the hassle get to see the support that they have within the community," said Linder. "If you have any silver lining in this at all it will be that they're going to get an upgraded stadium, you know that's the good thing about it I guess."
The field won't be ready the team's next home game on March 16th, but the coaching staff is making arrangements to keep the team's schedule in tact. In the meantime, Linder said the recreation field next to the high school field will be used for practice.