WASHINGTON — U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, lead off hitter for the Republicans in Wednesday night's Congressional Baseball Game, officially scored his first run since returning to the baseball field after narrowly surviving a mass shooting two years ago.

It was his first time back up at bat in Nationals Park.

With an error on a 3-2 count, Scalise was able to advance to first base after a couple of swings. U.S. Rep. William Timmons, R-South Carolina, took his place running the bases and was the first player of the game to cross home plate.

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It wasn't as dramatic as Scalise's return to the field last year when, taking up his old position at second base, he fielded the ball hit on the first pitch of the game and threw to first to take out the Democrats’ batter.

But Wednesday marked another milestone on a recovery that was expected by few.

This time two years ago, Scalise was in the hospital — many still unsure whether he would make it out alive, much less be able to play baseball again— after he was critically injured when a gunman opened fire on Republicans during an early-morning baseball practice. 

"It was touch and go," he said, looking back on his recovery shortly before taking the field for Wednesday's game.

Doctors said Scalise, the most gravely injured in the June 14, 2017, attack, was in "imminent risk of death" when he arrived at a Washington hospital with massive blood loss and significant damage to bones and internal organs when the bullet ripped across his hip.

He underwent multiple surgeries and was discharged from the hospital six weeks later but remained in an intensive in-patient rehabilitation facility for several months.

After returning to the public eye, Scalise often would be spotted getting around on an LSU-decorated purple and gold scooter. He then moved to two purple and gold crutches. Today, he uses one crutch but only occasionally.

"I just keep getting better every day," he said. 


Email Elizabeth Crisp at ecrisp@theadvocate.com and follow on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.