Area Congressman Davidson takes field in baseball game, year after shooting

Congressman Warren Davidson said it was “exciting” to see Majority Whip Steve Scalise taking the field and hitting the ball as the Republican prepares for tonight’s annual congressional baseball game.

This year's game comes a year to the day after Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, was almost killed by a lone gunman when he opened fire on June 14, 2017, on a group of Republican lawmakers, staffers and others during an early morning practice. And if Davidson, a Republican from Troy, wasn't recovering from hernia surgery — which is why he didn't participate last year — he said he likely would have been on that field.

RELATED: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise to return to field one year after Congressional Baseball shooting

He said he “think(s) a lot about it.”

“I think it was definitely a low point in the divisiveness in the political arena where someone reacted the way they did,” Davidson said. “(Scalise’s) life is forever changed because someone shot him. We can disagree civilly and confine it to the measures that the founders created, which is constitutionally structured government and elections matter so save that passion for the election cycle.”

Davidson wasn’t aware of the shooting until after the security detail disrupted a workout with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“The security detail for the speaker never comes in the gym. They came in, pulled him out and talked with them, and you can see something serious was happening,” said Davidson. “He came back over, and he was like, ‘Yeah, I gotta go.’”

Davidson assumed it was some national security issue until he picked up his phone after his workout. Friends and family were text messaging him asking if he was okay.

“It’s an easy point in time to remember,” he said.

RELATED: Congressional baseball game comes a year after shooting

Scalise was the first sitting member of Congress to have been shot since U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, in 2011.

Also shot during the June 14, 2017, shooting were Crystal Griner, a U.S. Capitol Police officer assigned to protect Scalise; Zack Barth, a congressional aide; and Matt Mika, a Tyson Foods lobbyist.

Capitol and Alexandria police officers ended up in a 10-minute shootout with the alleged shooter, James Hodgkinson, of Illinois. Officers shot Hodgkinson, who died from his wounds at a Georgetown hospital.

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati, who served in Iraq as an Army combat surgeon, is credited with helping to save Scalise’s life. He was on the field during the mass shooting.

“If not for a gun — two guns really — being used on our side, you might have seen 20 dead people,” Wenstrup told the Associated Press. “That tells you where I’m coming from.”

Since Scalise, who is part of the House leadership team, two Capitol Police officers — David Bailey and Griner — were at the GOP practice.

Davidson will play left field in tonight’s game and is backing up Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who had six ribs broken in November when a neighbor tackled him about stacking law debris near their property lines.

Outside of playing softball in his 30s, this is the first time since the summer before his freshman year of high school Davidson played baseball. Tonight, he'll don a jersey from the Champion City Kings, a college summer baseball team located in Springfield.

“My original dream job was to play 2nd base for the Reds,” he said. “But somewhere around the 8th grade you realize that’s probably isn’t going to happen.”

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