U-13 Blast finish fifth at nationals tournament
The Cloquet-based Minnesota Blast U-13 softball team finished up an impressive summer with an equally impressive performance at the North American Fast Pitch Association’s Northern Nationals tournament last week in Eden Prairie.
Coach Tyler Korby’s players went 4-4 at the 80-team event and finished fifth in the tournament’s bronze division, after going 1-2 in pool play.
“That was the best finish any team I have coached has had in a national event,” Korby said. “We had all sorts of fun and it was more than just softball.”
The team’s wins all came over Minnesota teams — Champlin Park, Soderville, Farmington and Irondale — and the team reached its goal of playing into Sunday.
“We were guaranteed five games and got eight,” Korby said. “By the time we left, there were only two fields still playing games.”
The team even got a day at the beach on Saturday. After winning a morning game, the team went to a public park for beach time and swimming — and returned to its field to win again in the evening.
The tournament featured teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska and even a team from Winnipeg.
“It was a real step forward,” Korby added. “For the girls to go down there and experience that, it’s something we want to do next year, too.”
The team finished 32-22-5 overall and even won the Tier 2 playoffs in the Lake Superior Fast Pitch League before leaving for Eden Prairie, outscoring opponents 34-2 over the last three games.
“We played 59 games, and that’s as many as I can remember in a summer,” Korby said. “Now we get ready for the fall season with the girls who want to move on. Their dedication was definitely there. We are just getting started.”