WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats dominated their Republican counterparts early on in a bittersweet annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nats Park. 

After seven innings, Democrats took the coveted Roll Call Trophy thanks to an 11-2 lead. 

A Capitol Hill tradition since 1909, five Texas members of Congress participated in the game. 

The event took place after a harrowing week in the congressional community, and specifically for the Republican baseball team. A shooter opened fire at the GOP's final practice of the season on Wednesday, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and several others, including an aide to U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Many members of both teams, along with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, sported yellow and purple Louisiana State University attire in a nod to Scalise, a native of New Orleans. 

The hospital treating Scalise announced early in the game that the congressman remains in critical condition but is improving. The incident gave the early game a somber feel — but once the competition started, there was no mercy from either side. 

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, was the only Texan who started the game. U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland saw playing time later in the game at first base. U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, was the lone Texan on the Democratic team and made his rookie debut at bat Thursday night. 

Texans had no major hits, but Brady and Veasey got on base via walks. 

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, has led the team for decades as manager. Williams, a former star baseball player at Texas Christian University, is also a coach to the team. 

In recent years, Democrats typically won the game based on talent of the ex-collegiate pitcher U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana. Republicans snapped the streak in 2016 and had high hopes coming into Thursday night. 

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • U.S. Rep. Roger Williams said he dove for the dugout as a gunman began shooting Wednesday morning during a GOP congressional baseball practice in Virginia. U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and one of Williams' staffers were among those shot. [link]

  • U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady left the GOP baseball practice early Wednesday morning, declining an offer to catch some grounders from second base. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was in that spot instead, when a gunman appeared and shot him. [link]

Get The Brief

Never miss a moment in Texas politics with our daily newsletter.