Mayflower baseball team searched for teammate’s jeresey in rubble

As a tornado barreled toward Mayflower, Davis Gaffney faced a dilemma. His parents told he and his five siblings they could take two belongings with them to the tornado shelter. Gaffney, a ninth-grade baseball player, chose his baseball glove and iguana.
Unfortunately, the glove and pet were about all Gaffney had left after the tornado ripped through his house. As the family sifted though the rubble, Gaffney was unable to find his game jersey.
Mayflower coach Joe Albritton sent a text to his players asking them to help Gaffney and Garrett Taylor, whose family also lost their house, salvage personal items, including game uniforms.
Players and parents, coaches and wives spent hours searching. Albritton found the Nike jersey, which had just a small hole in it.
“I didn’t realize the the house had a second story,” Albritton says. “It was across the road in a pond. That’s where I found [the jersey].”
Gaffney, who plays on the JV squad but suits up for varsity games, was touched by how his teammates chipped in.
“It was just awesome to know they cared that much,” Gaffney says.
Gaffney proudly wore the jersey Tuesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park when the Eagles played Vilonia in a benefit game.
The game drew more than 8,000 people and raised closed to $130,000. It was also a comfort to the players and parents and others from the community affected by the tragedy.
“Baseball helps us put [the tornado] aside, and just play a game we love,” Gaffney says. “Otherwise, I would be thinking about not having a house all day. That’s not good.”