Ashley Abrahamson Softball Tournament a hitKathy Abrahamson had a hard time putting this past weekend into words. The 11th annual softball tournament held at Braun Park in honor of her daughter, Ashley, was yet another huge success.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CLOQUET – Kathy Abrahamson had a hard time putting this past weekend into words. The 11th annual softball tournament held at Braun Park in honor of her daughter, Ashley, was yet another huge success.
“What can I say?” said Abrahamson. “It was just a wonderful tournament. It was very emotional.”
Ashley, a three-sport student-athlete who loved softball, was killed in a car accident in Illinois in 2000.
One of her best friends, Sarah Tondryk, is the tournament director, along with her father, Ron.
“I can’t say enough about them,” said Abrahamson. “They do this every year to honor Ashley. And we look forward to it every time. I really want to thank everyone for this, especially Ron and Sarah.”
Kathy, husband Jim and family members gave out many hugs while enjoying the two-day event, watching games intently from sunrise to sunset. And they never stopped smiling.
The Abrahamsons give out gifts to all of the players every summer; this year, kids received honorary water bottles.
“It was another good year,” said Sarah Tondryk. “It was a great turnout and I noticed a lot of people enjoying themselves at the park.”
Especially the girls.
“The girls were excited,” continued Tondryk. “They really enjoy this tournament. And it was so nice to see all of the support.”
Of the 23 teams competing, the Bemidji Blaze Black was crowned the U-14 champs, while Northwestern won the U-12 division.
Top local finishers included AlBrook-Cherry’s runner-up finish in U-12, while the Minnesota Blast of Cloquet earned third place in U-14. Carlton also won consolation in both U-12 and U-14, and Esko also placed.
“There were some good games and some really good competition,” said Tondryk. “Games were packed from start to finish. It was busy out there.”
Ashley Awards are given out to one player from every squad who best represents who Ashley was and her love for the game of softball.
Local recipients included: Mikayla Olesiak of AlBrook-Cherry, Ashley Anderson of Carlton and Hazel Erickson of Cloquet in the U-12 division, and Steph Anderson of Carlton, Shawna Johnson of Esko, Abbey Wangen of the Minnesota Blast and Faryn Wilson of Sawyer in the U-14 division.
“I just want to thank everyone who helped out this weekend,” said Tondryk. “It was a lot of fun and I just can’t thank everyone enough – the Cloquet Youth Baseball/Softball Association, the field maintenance crew and especially the Abrahamsons. It was a nice weekend.”