It’s beginner’s pluck for new softball teamUp until this year, Two Harbors didn’t have a competitive Little League softball option for girls. “It was an opportunity Duluth girls had that Two Harbors girls didn’t,” Chris Lemke said.
By: Sonja Peterson, Lake County News Chronicle
Up until this year, Two Harbors didn’t have a competitive Little League softball option for girls. “It was an opportunity Duluth girls had that Two Harbors girls didn’t,” Chris Lemke said.
In Duluth, a fast-pitch softball Little League for girls ages 9-12 was organized last year, with teams from Lake Park, West Duluth, Central Duluth and East Duluth. They agreed to allow a Two Harbors-based team to join this year.
The team surprised everyone by finishing the season undefeated and taking home the league championship.
Lemke, Dan Hebl, Jeff Johnson and Mike McGrath coached the new team. The team was called “Lake Park Grey” since originally, Duluth’s Lake Park was to be the location for home games and practice. But coaches were able to get permission to use Odegard Park in Two Harbors as a home field.
“The city of Two Harbors was just awesome,” Lemke said. It not only allowed the use of Odegard but also helped provide equipment and reduce the cost of registration. Lemke also thanked Tim Reppe, who helps coordinate other summer recreation programs and was enthusiastic about the new softball team.
How did this rookie team win the league? “They’re extremely athletic,” Lemke said. Though many had little softball experience, they caught on quickly. “They all listened and were very coachable.” Sarah Fjeran was one of the top pitchers and Felicia Seeber played catcher.
Girls practiced three times a week, with one being an optional pitchers and catchers practice, beginning in May. The team finished the season last week with a championship in the league tournament. The team’s final record was 16-0.
Three players, Carina Hebl, Tiffani Johnson and Ayla Lemke, also participated in the 9-10 year old District III All-Star Team, which took second place in the state tournament last weekend in Chanhassen.
There’s still something to look forward to: Next year, Two Harbors has a good chance of hosting the Little League softball fast-pitch state tournament. “What a difference a year can make,” Lemke said.