Masessa sister act plays softball day and nightKayla Massessa enjoys softball so much that she was allowed into summer league a year before most. A 4-year-old then and a Cloquet senior now, the speedy outfielder said it’s always been her sport of choice. Her family tree is no different.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Kayla Massessa enjoys softball so much that she was allowed into summer league a year before most. A 4-year-old then and a Cloquet senior now, the speedy outfielder said it’s always been her sport of choice.
Her family tree is no different.
Alongside Kayla sits younger sisters Devan, a sophomore, and Allie, an eighth-grader. All three play for the Cloquet High School program this spring, while their parents, Becky and Mike, played competitive co-ed ball years ago.
“It’s just something we do,” said 18-year-old Kayla Tuesday night. “It’s like our sport, I guess. Our whole family plays it.”
Kayla rests atop the Lumberjacks’ lineup as a leadoff hitter and centerfielder, while Devan, 16, and Allie, 14, play for the junior varsity in both the infield and outfield. All three said they love the game.
“Besides school, softball is basically my life,” Allie said with a laugh.
“Our parents both played and started us when we were little,” Devan added. “We’ve always played. For us, it’s pretty much softball every day.”
Literally. In addition to their spring duties with the Lumberjacks, the sisters play for Cloquet’s summer traveling teams with Kayla on the Minnesota Silver Bullets, Devan the Minnesota Blast and Allie the Minnesota Dynamite.
That said, Becky admitted life from March through August can get pretty hectic for their Esko-based family. Add the time commitment to entry fees, hotels, gasoline and everything from gloves to spikes and it is also quite costly.
Becky never hesitates to sign her daughters up, however.
“It gets a little expensive and summers get long, but it’s something that’s important to them,” she said. “They love the game. And we support them.”
Indeed. Tuesday when Cloquet clashed with Superior, Becky stood between both fields watching Kayla play varsity and both Devan and Allie play junior varsity. Becky said camping out in the middle is she and her husband’s usual spot during the spring, but things get even more difficult come summertime.
Last summer, Becky and Mike had Kayla playing in the Twin Cities, while Devan was in St. Cloud and Allie played the weekend after in Austin, Minn.
“Tournaments get tough,” Kayla said, “but it’s nice to have them there.”
“It’s a very busy time as a parent,” said third-year Cloquet Coach Ron Tondryk, who had two daughters of his own go through the program. “Sometimes you can go all over the place, but Mike and Becky are very supportive.”
Becky said when times are too demanding, she has her daughter’s grandparents help out, while she credited other teammates’ families, too.
“We have been blessed with a lot of help from a lot people,” Becky said.
“Softball probably wouldn’t be an option if they weren’t there for us,” Allie added about her parents and others. “But I’m getting my permit this summer.”
Devan, meanwhile, earned her license last month. She can now drive around like Kayla and help out with rides to daily practices, games and tournaments.
“It has to be incredibly difficult and stressful to do what they do for us,” Devan said of her parents. “They handle it so well.”
Tuesday, Kayla returned to the Lumberjacks’ lineup for the first time since she suffered a concussion in an outfield collision at Grand Rapids. She roped three hits in defeat, while Devan and Allie both contributed in the junior varsity win.
Afterward, the trio caught up with their mother.
“We usually do that,” said Kayla, who explained she tries to watch her younger siblings play when she has time. “We’ll talk about varsity and JV and see how each other did that night. Some days can get long, but it’s usually fun.”
Becky said she doesn’t miss much.
“I usually see all of their at-bats and when balls are hit their way in the field,” she said. “We are always looking forward to the season.”
“Kayla has been playing here for a while, so has Devan and now we have Allie, too,” Tondryk said. “It’s been fun to watch them progress. All three are very coachable players who listen, want to get better and are great teammates.”
Even if times get a little tense between them all.
“Devan can get on my nerves at tournaments,” Allie admitted. “We fight, obviously, but we all love one another. And we’re always there for each other.”
As sisters, and as teammates.