Even though Santa Fe High School’s baseball season ended Saturday in the regional playoffs, team members didn’t feel defeated.
“We’re a strong community and there’s nothing that can faze us,” said Santa Fe pitcher Rome Shubert, who 36 hours earlier had a bullet pass through the back of his head as he and teammate Trenton Beazley hid from a gunman who had opened fire in their classroom.
A day after 10 people were killed and 13 others wounded in the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, the Santa Fe Indians took the field with the community, the state and the nation behind them.
Shubert said the team had to “dig deep,” but they wanted to be out there on the field.
“To come out here and have my team be as strong as they were, and how emotional it was and they came out here and played, I’m really proud of them,” Shubert said.
Beazley, who was hit in the back by a ricocheted bullet, had his left arm in a sling.
Tributes to the victims could be seen throughout the ballpark as Santa Fe lost to Kingwood Park 7-0. Two pieces of athletic tape in the shape of a cross with 10 sets of initials were attached to the Santa Fe dugout.
Several players wore black sleeves on their arms that said “Santa Fe Strong.” Both teams gathered in a circle for a pregame prayer and those in attendance observed a moment of silence before the first pitch.
The shooting suspect, 17-year-old Dimitrious Pagourtzis, was arrested on suspicion of capital murder and assault of a police officer.
While the baseball game couldn’t take away the pain, it did serve as a temporary distraction from the tragedy.
Amid the hugs and the tears, Shubert and Beazley were back with their teammates in the dugout Saturday night as a show of support — and resiliency.
“Nothing’s going to ever drag us down,” Shubert said, echoing the feelings of the Santa Fe community. “We’re definitely going to bounce back from everything and come back stronger than ever.”