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State softball comes to Cloquet

Braun Park proved its worth last summer, as the United States Specialty Sports Association will again host its Minnesota Youth Fastpitch Softball Northern State Tournament at the always-buzzing softball complex this weekend in Cloquet.

A year ago, 34 teams participated in the first-time event. However, according to USSSA state director Scott Brown, this year 39 teams ranging in 10-, 12-, 14- and 18-and-Under age groups will take to the park this time, playing 74 games on six fields Saturday and Sunday.

Brown and his wife, Erin, who live in Andover, Minn., will again run the event, noting their Twin Cities-based organization enjoys coming up north each summer.

County teams participating include squads from Cloquet, Esko, Carlton/Wrenshall and Moose Lake, along with Iron Range, Duluth and Twin Cities teams as well.

Scott Brown, who will arrive in town Friday, said Braun Park, built in 2000, is as nice a complex as there is, statewide.

Ashley’s field, approximately 125 feet, may even see some 10-year-olds hit home runs into the nearby trees this weekend.

“That can change a girl’s life,” Brown said positively.