The U-18 Minnesota Blast, a team made up predominantly of players from next season’s Cloquet High School varsity, are a happy bunch this week after taking second place in the Minnesota Metro Fast Pitch League (MMFL) state tournament last weekend.
Cloquet was the place to be last weekend for softball fans, as 34 teams in age brackets from U-10 to U-18 took part in the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) northern state tournament. Six of those teams featured Cloquet-based players and one of them.
Although she’s 19 years old and finished with her freshman year at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Shania Paulson is age eligible and enjoying a final chance to play her favorite sport with the 18-and-Under Bullets (15-5).
Over the years, thousands of youth players have participated in the Ashley Abrahamson Memorial Softball Tournament over time. Last weekend marked the annual event’s 14th year in honor of Ashley, a talented three-sport, student-athlete who was killed in a car accident in Illinois in 2000.
The Blast had fun edging the Minnesota Xplosion 7-5 and then thumping the Esko Impact 13-1 in five innings Tuesday at the Wade Stadium in Duluth, as the fourth-year unit of Cloquet kids continues to challenge themselves, Rodd said.
It was a duo of underclassmen who helped keep a lid on a pair of Polar League visitors Tuesday in the Bulldogs’ 8-3 win over Silver Bay, followed by a 4-2 victory past Two Harbors in a doubleheader at a sunny Chub Lake Park.
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