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Posted on Fri, May 31, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

Michigan softball team safe after tornado scare at World Series in Oklahoma City

By Pete Cunningham


Michigan softball coach Carol "Hutch" Hutchins addresses her team while gathered in an underground parking garage in Oklahoma City during a tornado on Friday, May 31.

Courtesy of Michigan Athletics

The Women’s College World Series took a backseat for the Michigan softball team on Friday as a tornadoes ripped through the Oklahoma City area. Team members, their families and several fans who traveled for the tournament took refuge in an underground parking garage beneath the team hotel in downtown Oklahoma City after tornado sirens began to go off around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard time according, to a team spokesman.



Daniel Brenner | file photo


Game 1 - Washington 4, Nebraska 3 (8 innings)
Game 2 - Tennessee 9, Florida 2
Game 3 - Texas 6, Arizona State 3
Game 4 - Oklahoma 7, Michigan 1


Games 5 & 6 postponed


Game 5 - Washington vs. Tennessee, noon, ESPN2
Game 6 - Texas vs. Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 7 - Nebraska vs. Florida, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 8 - Arizona State vs. Michigan, 9:30 p.m., ESPN


Game 9 - Game 5 loser vs. Game 7 winner, TBA
Game 10 - Game 6 loser vs. Game 8 winner, TBA
Game 11 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 9 winner, TBA
Game 12 — Game 6 winner vs. Game 10 winner, TBA
Game 13 — Game 11 winner vs. Game 11 loser, TBA (if necessary)
Game 14 — Game 12 winner vs. Game 12 loser, TBA (if necessary)

Championship Series

Monday: Teams TBD, 8 p.m., ESPN
Tuesday: Teams TBD, 8 p.m., ESPN
Wednesday: Teams TBD, 8 p.m., ESPN (if necessary)

All team members and their families were accounted for shortly after the team sought shelter according to team sports information director Michael Kasiborski. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado emergency for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and the severe storm is already responsible for at least five deaths.

Michigan players were eating dinner at their hotel when sirens first went off and hotel officials instructed all guests to file into the parking garage beneath the hotel. Athletic director Dave Brandon and his wife, Jan, helped to corral families, friends and fans nearby as well.

After an hour underground, guests were brought to ground level, but were instructed to go back about 45 minutes later as storms persisted in the area.

"We are grateful to our hotel staff and the Oklahoma City police for acting swiftly to safeguard our team and the others staying in the area. We spent about two hours below ground in an underground garage and were able to stay together with the student-athletes' families and many of our fans, which gave us peace of mind,” Michigan softball coach Carol “Hutch” Hutchins said in a statement. Michigan is staying at a downtown location along with the Washington, Tennessee, Florida, Nebraska and Texas teams. Several storm touchdowns were reported on Friday night along Interstate-40 including in the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno, 25 miles west of the city.

Several Michigan players took to Twitter to confirm their safety and offer support to victims in the area.

The team is safe and out of shelter but continued prayers for the people still being hit by this storm. #prayers," tweeted senior captain Amy Knapp.

"Everyone in our hotel is okay for now, but pray for all those in the path of the storms #prayforoklahoma #staysafe," tweeted Michigan's first baseman Caitlin Blanchard.

Friday night’s games between Washington and Tennessee, and Texas and Oklahoma were postponed until Saturday because of the weather. After losing to Oklahoma on Thursday night, Michigan did not have a Friday game and was scheduled to play Arizona State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The game has been pushed back until 9:30 p.m.

“Tonight softball talks a backseat because we know so many were not as fortunate to have the shelter that we did. Please keep the people of Oklahoma in your thoughts," Hutchins said.

-- The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Go Blue!!! Stay safe and play hard!

Concerned Neighbor

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

All severe weather is due to climate change. Now if you are talking about global warming, I believe you are not seeing all the facts. Our short time on this planet is a blip on the radar. That being said I do believe that the earth is naturally getting warmer as it has been doing since the ice ages.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

I know you likely have, but have you seen the comprehensive global data on this? In case you haven't seen these, here is a website that sums a lot of this up. I realize humankind has been around for a very, very small fraction of the time the earth has been around, and we can't look back on our current situation yet (hindsight is always 20/20), but all lines of evidence shown here certainly indicate the globe is warming, with the key difference being the skyrocketing levels of CO2.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

I am relieved that the team is safe and hope that Oklahoma City has seen its last tornado, at least for this year. As with members of the team my heart goes out to those Oklahomans who were effected by the storm and to the families of the five who died and all other injured. Climate change is likely behind the increasing number and severity of storms effecting Oklahoma City and other corn belt states. Weather conditions may even get worse in the future due to our inadequate efforts to reduce carbon emissions and other green house gases. Perhaps it is time to consider moving the WCWS to less endangered location. Go Blue! Make it three-is-a-charm!