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Youth softball players go to bat for tornado victims

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In the aftermath of the massive tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla. leaving in its wake unimaginable destruction comes an outpouring of kindness from a Lantana softball player and her teammates.

Maddy Holder, 13, plays for the Keller Bandits, a softball team which participated in a tournament in Ardmore, Okla., less than 24 hours after the tragic event occurred.

One of her opponents was Casey Angle, whose 9-year-old sister, Sydney, perished when the EF-5 tornado destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School.  Her parents lost their home in the storm.

That story spurred Maddy to conceive holding a fundraiser to help the victims in Moore.

At a softball tournament in Keller with the help of her teammates and mother Amy, Maddy set up a booth decorated with signs reading “Remember Sydney” and “Rally Around Moore”, with pictures of the devastation and Angle.

“I just put myself in their shoes and wanted to do something to help,” Maddy said.

Help is exactly what happened, as parents and players on opposing teams joined in to contribute almost $1,000 by the end of the tournament. Softball equipment and a check was then presented to the Moore Softball Association.

Maddy and her teammates also collected clothes and items for CARE packages, which they distributed to victims in Moore during a visit following the tournament.

Among the people Maddy met was Sue Denny, a Moore resident who has played softball for 40 years. The two developed an instant rapport and plan to stay in contact.

“Everyone we met and talked with was so caring and thankful for the assistance,” Amy said.

That display of emotion and concern for people in a community three hours away started with a single girl’s remembrance of a child’s life cut short.

“When I go to the batter’s box during games, I always draw a circle around home plate with my bat,” Maddy said. “During that tournament, I also drew an “S” to remember Sydney.”

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