BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — As Virginia Tech marks the 15th anniversary of the mass shooting on its campus, former students are looking back on that tragic day, including one baseball player who remembers how sports played a role in helping the community heal.

“It was a Monday morning and I had an 8 a.m. class. We had gotten word of some potential drama, emergency across campus but no definitive explanation of what was taking place,” Andrew Wells said.

The former Virginia Tech pitcher remembers vividly where he was when chaos broke out in Blacksburg.

“It’s hard to ever really forget,” Wells said. “I eventually left the classroom and made my way over to the athletic facility where it became more apparent what was going on.”

A gunman claimed the lives of 32 people on Virginia Tech’s campus. As the tragedy unfolded, Wells was in lockdown in the baseball locker room watching the news. He then joined his school, his community and a shocked nation in processing and mourning the tragedy.

“It was sad. It was very difficult to comprehend. Very difficult to digest and explain and to talk about. My teammates, my classmates, friends, some wanted to talk about it,” Wells said. “Some needed outlets and resources to re-live and revisit and try to find a way to mourn but also move past. Others couldn’t talk about it. They couldn’t bring themselves to relive what had happened.”

Just five days after the shooting, Virginia Tech baseball returned to English Field, providing a degree of comfort and relief for Blacksburg.

“We were the first sports team to get back onto the field or the court and that was very meaningful for us as a program,” Wells said. “We kinda felt like we were part of that catalyst. Part of that movement to bring the community together. To bring campus together to provide everyone a distraction. Give them something to focus on and enjoy and reflect upon other than the tragedy and what we had recently experienced.

“Forever, baseball and Virginia Tech baseball specifically will be an important part of the healing process.”

And for Wells, that day will forever be part of his identity of being a Hokie.

“It’s a common conversation for me and it’s hard but I appreciate it. Because it kinda helps speak to for me the definition of being a Hokie. Blacksburg, the traditions, this being home,” Wells said. “It has certainly made us stronger and you look over time now and the years that have passed, we still talk about it but we have come together, rallied together and this is just an extremely special place.”