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In Uvalde, the healing power of a perfect pitch

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UVALDE, Texas — Youngsters dressed in their crisp Little League uniforms stalked the field in giddy anticipation. The smell of nacho cheese and sizzling chicken fajitas wafted through the bleachers in the warm summer night breeze.

It’s been a month of mourning in Uvalde, Texas: 21 funerals in 17 days following a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. This weekend’s Little League All-Star Championship, an event Uvalde had proudly planned to host, seemed to be the next victim; of the 19 children killed, six were part of the team. No one wanted to compete, let alone cheer.

But then they reconsidered. Maybe baseball was just what they needed.

“You don’t want to use the word ‘fun,’ but you want to see kids happy again,” said Cody Gardner, whose 9-year-old son Jage was looking forward to playing ball. “Baseball has always brought us together. There is still an overwhelming sense of sadness and a bit of normalcy.

On Thursday, they stopped to honor the dead during an opening ceremony at the sports complex in the town of Uvalde, handing out a jersey and a baseball to each of the six families who had lost a player. Uvalde Little League President JJ ​​Suarez walked down a line of two dozen parents, taking turns hugging them.

First, there were 21 seconds of silence. Then the deep voice of announcer, Wade Carpenter, echoed through the field.

“We are strong at Uvalde. Let’s play ball! he said.

And with that, the players spread out across four baseball diamonds, threw balls, ran bases and, for a few hours, laid their grief aside in the arms of America’s favorite pastime.

Leticia Rodriguez, 61, smiled bittersweetly as she watched the children and their parents form a long line to enjoy the fajitas she was cooking next to the concession stand.

“In a small town like this, there isn’t much to do. All we have is baseball,” said Ms. Rodriguez, whose 18 grandchildren all played in Uvalde Little League. “We had to come back for the kids. We had.”

The summer tournament almost did not take place. Although Uvalde was chosen this spring to host the regional tournament, the May 24 shootout prompted the Uvalde Little League, which sponsors more than 620 children aged 4 to 15, to consider handing over the privileges of welcome to another city.

But Matthew Hughes, a league board member whose daughter plays, said nearly everyone they spoke to, including the parents of the team’s deceased players, agreed to go on. ‘before.

“I reached out to a few councilors in town and asked them, ‘What do you think? They said part of the healing process is to bring people back to the level of continuity, a level of regularity as quickly as possible,” Mr Hughes said. “In my mind, we are putting on this tournament for all of them.”

Last week, Mr Suarez, who has been in the league for two decades, helped place the portraits of the six deceased players on the wall of a dugout, each posing in a Little League uniform with a bat, to still 10 years old: Xavier Lopez, Tess Mata, Eliahna Torres, Alexandria Rubio, Jose Flores Jr. and Makenna Elrod. When Mr Suarez arrived at the last, he found himself with tears streaming down his face.

“It’s hard to deal with,” he said.

Some parents wondered if moving forward was the right decision. “Sounds like you’re selfish, you know?” said Erica Bueno, whose 9-year-old son, Joaquin, made the All-Star team. “Getting back to normal when there is so much pain in this town.” She paused, then added, “You feel bad trying to be happy.”

Two days before the tournament, Ms Bueno watched with a mixture of joy and concern as Joaquin attempted to catch a ball during a practice match. The boy, who played on the same team as Xavier, seemed to be in good spirits, she said, but then again it was hard to know what boys his age were thinking.

When they had attended Xavier’s funeral a few days earlier, she said, Joaquin had struggled with his emotions, especially after seeing his friend lying motionless in an open coffin, surrounded by flowers and Little League memorabilia. .

“He said, ‘Mom, why would someone do something like that?’ “, she recalls. “I tried to explain that there is evil in this world and that some people make bad choices. It is difficult for them to understand what death means.

His eldest daughter, 12-year-old Isabella Bueno, who also plays in Little League, found it even harder to come to terms with what happened. She is close friends with Makenna’s older sister, and when they met, it was not uncommon for the young girl to follow.

“They were all part of the same group of friends,” Ms Bueno said. “They were all very close.”

For days after the murders, Isabella “closed off” and wouldn’t leave her room, her mother said. Seeing her teammates uplifted Isabella’s mood or at least distracted her from the pain, Ms Bueno added.

Kyla Sanchez, 13, another Little League player, said her return to the field was painful but necessary. Dressed in a brown Uvalde Little League t-shirt, she took a minute to study the portraits of her late friends. Kyla was also close with Makenna, who posed in a batting position for her portrayal. Kyla said she couldn’t erase Makenna’s sweet smile from her mind.

“She was always running up to me and giving me hugs,” Kyla said softly. “I just want to encourage him.”

Kyla’s mother, Cheryl Sanchez, who is also a member of the league’s board of directors, accompanied her to make sure she was up to it. “We believe that just letting the kids be together is the best healing process,” Ms Sanchez said.

Mr. Suarez lost a friend of his: Joe Garcia, whom he had known since high school, had a fatal heart attack two days after his wife, Irma Garcia, and another teacher, Eva Mireles, were killed in the massacre. Joe had met Irma in high school and they had been inseparable ever since, Mr Suarez recalled. High school friendships have passed on to the next generation: Mr. Suarez’s two children are friends with the Garcias’ four children, now orphans.

“He died of a broken heart,” Mr Suarez said of his friend. “He too is a victim of this tragedy.”

During Thursday’s opening ceremony, the organization Little League International presented the 2022 Carl E. Stotz Little League Community Award and a $5,000 grant to Uvalde Little League, recognizing the group’s deep community contributions.

Next, the Uvalde Junior League, for ages 12 to 14, took the field against the team from Jourdanton, Texas. In an intense contest that stretched past midnight, Uvalde won 10-5.

In one of the tournament’s most anticipated games on Sunday, Mr. Suarez’s 10-12 softball team took on rivals from Devine, Texas.

The mood was solemn at first, with another period of silence for the dead. But then the Uvalde players launched a familiar chant: ‘Everywhere we go, people want to know who we are,’ they shouted. “We are Uvalde, mighty, mighty Uvalde!”

The team proved unstoppable, scoring 23 runs to Devine’s three in the top of the third inning. At the end of the game, they celebrated a 25-6 win. “Exceptional effort from all of you,” Mr. Suarez told the girls. “You all gave 100%.”

Throughout the week’s games and training sessions, much of the time was spent reminiscing. Willa Suarez, 13, Mr Suarez’s daughter, remembered her friend Eliahna, who was named an honorary All-Star at Sunday’s game. Willa said Eliahna always had a smile on her face: “She was always a team player. After every game, win or lose, she was like, ‘Good game.’ »

One of Eliahna’s last races kept spinning in her head, Willa said, like a slow-motion video. It was over a month ago, and Eliahna was playing on the opposing team.

Willa remembers seeing Eliahna standing there waiting for the ball, bat in hand. Then contact. “She’s been incredibly successful,” Willa said.

Eliahna rushed to first base, then second. The next batter got a hit and Eliahna “saw an opportunity,” Willa recalled, and sprinted for home plate. One of Willa’s teammates grabbed the ball and rushed to Eliahna, but she slid into home plate without wasting any time. “It was a close call,” Willa recalls. “But she was called safe.”

Eliahna looked up smiling, Willa said. The crowd erupted in cheers and applause. Willa was caught up in the moment and realized she had been cheering for Eliahna too.

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HexClad, Tushy and Wild One: the best online sales of the moment

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Today you will find an offer on the Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi Routera discount classic tushy and savings on A savage pet equipment. All this and more below.

The manufacturer of our choice for the best restaurant quality nonstick skillet offer up to 40% off sitewide. You can score the Hexclad 10-inch Hybrid Skillet for $109.99 and shop the rest of the site for cookware, knives, mixing bowls and more, through July 5.

Win the title of our favorite bidet accessory, the Tushy Classic is a fantastic bidet for beginners and great value at just under $100. In our testing, this attachment had by far the most comfortable spray, and its adjustable nozzle made deep cleaning much easier than others. No other bidet attachment matches this one from Tushy gentle but effective flow, simple installation and easy to use controls plus adjustable pressure and direction. Right now, get the Tushy Classic 3.0 at a new low price from Nordstrom.

Treat your furry friend to stylish pet accessories from Wild One’s offerings – think minimalist design and chic jewel tones, all built with utility and comfort in mind. Whether you need a durable new leash for daily walks, a carry bag for the upcoming vacation, or treats to show your pup your love, this summer sale is giving you up to 40% off discount on top selling pet gear.

If you haven’t tried sous vide yet, now is your chance to jump on the culinary trend. An Anova Precision Cooker, complete with a Precision Base Kit that allows the unit to stand on its own, is on sale for $149 on Amazon for one day only. For the unindoctrinated, this cooker circulates water at the exact temperature needed for perfectly cooked meals, plus it offers fast heat-up times and Wi-Fi so you can set the timer and temperature with the associated application, all in a small, durable format. body.

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We’ve named the mesh router Eero 6, with its foolproof setup process and nearly unmatched speeds and coverage areas, just like your best bet by opting for a mesh router. Now over $100 off, the router is at the lowest price we’ve ever seen.

• A good night’s sleep is key, and right now you can save big on green, vegan, and latex Avocado mattress during the brand’s 4th of July sale.

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The beautifully designed outdoor furniture from Haysofas, lamps and much more are marked down during the brand’s summer sales.

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Girlfriend Collective’s activewear is sustainably made, size inclusive and ultra chic – what’s not to love? Until July 4, the brand is hosting its annual anniversary sale, so you can save up to 60% on select styles, from best-selling workout gear to swimwear, lounge sets and more. Moreover.

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Cubs’ Christopher Morel adapts to a league that took notice

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Right now, all of Major League Baseball has access to information on what kind of damage Cubs rookie Christopher Morel can do with a fastball. And Morel knows even better.

“Sometimes he wants to hit 600-foot homers,” Cubs assistant coach Juan Cabreja told the Sun-Times, “instead of 400-foot homers — that’s OK.”

What about 429 foot circuits? That’s how far Morel homered in the sixth inning in the Cubs’ 8-3 win over the Reds on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

Morel’s multi-hit game has shown how effective he can be even as he adapts at home plate to the changing approach of opposing pitchers against him.

On Wednesday, Cubs manager David Ross moved Morel to 9th in the batting order as he adjusts. For more than a month, Morel had been the Cubs’ leading hitter in every game he played, but he had posted a batting average below .200 for the past two and a half weeks.

“That nine holes can sometimes be a leading second,” Ross said. “And, one, just taking out one of those at bats in an area where he puts a lot of pressure on himself, swinging and missing. Try to find his timing, let the game come to him a little more.

Struggles are relative, and even before Wednesday, Morel had recorded hits in six of his last seven games. But the Cubs — and the rest of MlB — witnessed what Morel is capable of with a hot bat when he started his career on a 22-game streak.

“He’s just your typical guy coming into the big leagues, being successful, and especially at the top of the roster, he’s on the radar,” Ross said last week.

The higher a batter is on opposing teams’ radars, the more he pays attention to potential weaknesses.

“Especially on the first pitch, people are a little more cautious with him,” Cubs batting coach Greg Brown said, “because they know he’s ready to hit right out of the box. .”

So they don’t challenge him with a fastball in the strike zone.

The Cubs’ streak against the Cardinals last weekend was an overstated example of how pitchers adapted to the rookie as he began to establish himself in the majors. Over three games, Morel saw 36 breaking balls, compared to 22 fastballs, according to Statcast.

With that approach, the Cardinals limited Morel to two hits in all three games, both singles. The first was out of a fastball and the second out of a slider.

“They’re definitely more focused on throwing breaking stuff at the start of the accounts against me,” Morel said through team interpreter Will Nadal. “I’m going to keep working on that, just practicing, making sure that every time they throw breakable stuff at me, I’m able to identify it, adjust it and make it pay.”

It’s not that Morel can’t hit breaking balls. Entering Wednesday, he was batting .207 on that group of shots, according to Statcast. But he did more damage on fastballs.

“The goal would be that as he grows,” Brown said, “he’s going to recognize which sliders he wants to hit versus which ones he doesn’t. Or which lane he wants the radiator. These are just things that I think will come with time.

Morel battled to get his pitch against Reds reliever Ross Detwiler in the sixth inning. Detwiler mainly threw cutters at Morel. And Morel, showing patience, watched the first five pitches to come up with a 3-2 count.

He fouled another cutter to hold the stick.

Next, Morel fired a low, inside cutter to send a towering home run into the left-field stands.



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Man killed in apparent road rage shooting in Springfield, authorities say

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DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) – Authorities are investigating a fatal shooting on Delaware County roads. They believe it may have been a case of road rage.

Police are looking for the person who stopped a vehicle and fatally shot another driver on a busy road in Springfield Township, Delaware County. A bullet hole is visible in the windshield of the victim’s car left on State Road/Route 1 near Meetinghouse Lane.

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“It’s really annoying and a bit scary,” said Jackie Washco, who heard the shooting.

It happened around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said someone in a black SUV opened fire on a white Toyota.

“In fact, two victims were in the vehicle,” Stollsteimer said. “One was hit. He is the driver, the male. There was also a passenger in the vehicle.

Jackie Washko lives nearby and heard the gunshots. She says after the driver was shot, he lost control, hitting another vehicle which landed in the middle of the road.

READ MORE: Family members identify 21-year-old woman killed after a disgruntled patron opened fire at a Northeast Philadelphia bar by the name of Jailene Holton

You can see the damage on the right side of the car. The passenger then got off and ran to the nearest house.

“I go to check the door and a woman is screaming at me, she’s like ‘Help!’ Someone help. Dial 911. My husband died. So I called 911.”

A Good Samaritan who witnessed the chaos got out of her car and administered first aid to the driver until paramedics arrived. But the victim succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

“Anyone who saw anything, if you can, please come forward. It may not mean much to you, but it may help investigators understand what happened here this morning and help us bring the perpetrator to justice,” Stollsteimer said.

Police say the suspect was driving a black SUV, but they don’t know the exact make or model.

There is no danger for the community.

NO MORE NEWS: Arson suspect arrested in connection with blaze, building collapse that killed Philadelphia Fire Department Lt. Sean Williamson

Stay with CBS3 for updates on this developing story.



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