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’s not 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 almost 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 organizing this tournament for each 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, Eliahana 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.