Republican and Democratic lawmakers are playing in their annual congressional charity baseball game on the first anniversary of a shooting spree at a practice last year that almost killed House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Scalise, who returned to work last fall, fielded a ground ball and threw out the first batter before leaving the field to enthusiastic cheers. Before the game, Scalise said he was starting at second base despite his physical limitations, which “tells you how bad the talent level is.”
At the top of the fourth inning, the Democrats were leading 8-1.
Since Scalise and others were shot last year at a Republican practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, and after several subsequent mass shootings in the U.S., Republican lawmakers, including Scalise, have largely maintained their support for gun rights.
Scalise says the mass shooting in which he was severely wounded “deepened my appreciation for the Second Amendment because it was people with guns who saved my life and every other member out there.”
WATCH: Members of Congress Take to Baseball Field Year After Shooting
Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey, members of Scalise’s security team credited by the congressman with saving his life, were wounded, as were congressional staffer Zack Barth and lobbyist Matt Mika.
The gunman was 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, who was killed in a shootout with police. Hodgkinson apparently had been in the Washington area for several months stalking his targets.
The contest is a summertime tradition in Washington dating back to 1909, a time for friendly competition between Republicans and Democrats even in years when fractious political debates are the norm on Capitol Hill. The game typically raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.