MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

May 22, 2013

Connors players impacted by storm

Sawyer Barnard and Jake Borrego are not sure what to expect when they return home from the NJCAA World Series which begins Saturday in Grand Junction, Colo.

The two members of the Connors State baseball team reside in Moore. They’ve heard what the destruction is like but have yet to see the pictures.

“My dad texted me a few videos but I’ve yet to see everything,” Borrego said. “They’re still having trouble getting signals.”

While Barnard’s house escaped damage, a family member was directly affected.

“It missed my house by about a mile,” Barnard said. “It hit my brother at work but he’s all right. His truck is totaled and everything but we’re doing okay.”

When he finally was able to talk to his family, Borrego had a tremendous load lifted off his chest.

“My family’s good,” Borrego said. “I know of one friend who had his house damaged but for the most part, what I got Monday, everyone’s fine.”

Both Barnard, a sophomore who played for Moore High School, and Borrego, a freshman who attended Southmoore High School, grew up in Moore and barely remember the tornado that ripped the town apart in 1999. But there is one image that Borrego will never forget.

“Me and my family were driving away,” he said. “I looked out the window of the van and my mom told me not to. I remember seeing a black cloud and from then on, I don’t know.”

The two were at practice on Monday when they got the word. Like everyone else trying to reach loved ones in the area, both Barnard and Borrego had trouble reaching their families.

“My mom called me five times and texted me a couple of times, but I had no idea,” Barnard said. “I kept trying to call everybody and it kept saying ‘Lines are busy.’ I kinda started freaking out.”

One thing that can take the their minds off of what happened is getting ready to face No. 4 Navarro College (Texas) at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s going to be rough to get my mind straight,” Barnard said. “I’ve got friends whose houses were hit but they’re all OK. They’re going through a hard time.”

Grant Linstead, a third member of the team from Moore, didn’t make the trip to Grand Junction but has kept in contact with Barnard and Borrego.

“I talked to Grant earlier (Tuesday),” Barnard said. “He can’t even get home. They won’t let him into his neighborhood. He said his house is okay and has a little bit of damage.”

Borrego doesn’t know what awaits him when he arrives back in his hometown but he does remember what it was like the last time he was there.

“The funny thing is I went home Sunday to do some laundry,” he said. “I got to see Moore one last time but I didn’t know it would be like that though.”

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