WASHINGTON — The capital power brokers filed into an elementary school lot, beyond barricades covered in wrinkled advertisements. On the diamond, the players warmed up beside a giant-headed Abraham Lincoln mascot with a slightly menacing smile. Off it, heavily armed security guards lined the grounds.

“It has that small-town feel to it,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida and a semi-reluctant outfielder in Wednesday evening’s annual softball game between the women of Congress and the women of the Fourth Estate. “It just feels like Anytown, U.S.A.”

It doesn’t, exactly.

But for a moment, in this city of irrepressible cynicism and occasionally rose-colored outfield sunglasses, it could look like it, at least for the game’s truest believers.

For the second time in two weeks, a collection of proudly self-identifying members of the Washington establishment — elected officials, journalists and generally well-meaning creatures of the Trump-era swamp — gathered at a ball field for a showdown that felt more meaningful than usual.

Last week, the Congressional Baseball Game drew more than 24,000 people to Nationals Park to watch Democratic lawmakers prevail over their Republican counterparts. The game was held the day after a gunman opened fire at the Republican team’s practice in Alexandria, Va., striking four people, including Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House majority whip. Mr. Scalise is still recovering; MedStar Washington Hospital Center said Wednesday that his condition had been upgraded to “fair” and that he was making “good progress.”

The game last week amounted to a brief catharsis, perhaps a very brief one, mixing cheers and tears and bipartisan beer-guzzling in the name of collective anguish.

The contest Wednesday was different, the emotions considerably less raw. Neither team had been shot at the day before.

But one week out, the shooting has kept the capital suspended in a moment of broader reckoning — not uncommon, distressingly, in recent years. It called to mind the aftermath of tragedies past, like the Sandy Hook massacre of 2012 and the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, then a congresswoman from Arizona, in 2011. Ms. Giffords was herself a member of the softball team when she served in the House.

“I think people are feeling very — what’s the right word? — almost wrung out,” said Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, an outfielder and a pitcher. “There’s been so much violence. It’s a climate of hate.”

Since its inception in 2009, the softball game has distinguished itself from the men’s affair by placing Republicans and Democrats on the same team, pitting them against members of the news media. (A disclosure: Three New York Times journalists — three talented and competitive New York Times journalists — play for the team, and a fourth coaches.)

The event raises money for the Young Survival Coalition, an advocacy group for women with breast cancer; one of the game’s co-founders, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, is a breast cancer survivor. Organizers said it had raised more than $300,000 this year.

“There are only 535 of us,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said of Congress as a country singer, Kalie Shorr, completed a sound check for the midgame entertainment: a performance of “Fight Like a Girl.” “We’re all in this together.”

There are more important things than softball going on in Washington, not least the discussions over a closely guarded Senate health bill that is set to be unveiled this week, with its attendant effects on about one-sixth of the American economy.

But for years, lawmakers have spoken of this athletic tradition in near-reverent terms, recalling friendships deepened and legislative partnerships forged in a Capitol often bereft of bygone comity.

The shooting last week, said one team member, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, “reminded us of why we do this.”

“It matters,” Ms. Gillibrand added. “And it has always mattered.”

The accommodations have long been considerably more modest than those of the men’s game, which is played in a major league stadium.

On Wednesday evening, among moldering football practice equipment and overstuffed bleachers, the sides played before a near-sellout crowd of more than 2,500.

“Hi, ladies,” Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said, clasping hands with a volunteer in a highlighter yellow shirt. “Mucho fun.”

Speaker Paul D. Ryan strolled behind home plate, warmly greeting members of the journalists’ team. (It was, as ever, a complicated day for politician-press relations at the Capitol: Earlier on Wednesday, a new Republican member, Representative Greg Gianforte of Montana, was sworn in, less than two weeks after pleading guilty to assaulting a reporter.)

Other boldfaced names, at least by Washington standards, dotted the park: Kellyanne Conway, the White House adviser; Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California.

“Here comes Steny Hoyer!” fans were told via loudspeaker at one point. The game’s commentary came from Andrea Mitchell of NBC, Dana Bash of CNN and Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, who could be seen poring over the rosters from a tent between home plate in the early innings.

The heartiest ovation may have come for Crystal Griner, the Capitol Police officer shot in the ankle at the men’s practice last week. She threw the ceremonial first pitch — two, actually, after expressing apparent dissatisfaction with the first — from a wheelchair.

The journalists’ team secured a 2-1 victory when, with the tying run on third and two outs, Ms. Gillibrand was tagged out at second in the final inning.

But attendees seemed inclined to support both squads for much of the evening.

Sara Akbar, 42, a government affairs employee, came with her 2-year-old son, Kayed. She has attended four softball games but never the men’s game, objecting to its partisan teams.

“Build them to be feminists now,” Ms. Akbar said, kicking a Disney-themed soccer ball with her son. “They have no choice, really.”