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Ninth Annual Ashley Abrahamson Tournament to be held this weekend

The ninth annual Ashley Abrahamson Girls Softball Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Braun Park in Cloquet. "When we first started nine years ago it was a small tournament and we had only the U-14 age division and maybe eight teams," ...

The ninth annual Ashley Abrahamson Girls Softball Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Braun Park in Cloquet.

"When we first started nine years ago it was a small tournament and we had only the U-14 age division and maybe eight teams," recalled Sarah Tondryk, co-tournament director. "Each year the tournament has gotten just a little bigger and has become a more well-known event."

This year the tournament will feature 10 teams in the U-12 Division and 16 teams in the U-14 Division.

The tournament is held in memory of Ashley Abrahamson who was tragically killed in a car accident that also took the lives of Tom and Marcia Braun. Braun Park is named after them.

Sarah Tondryk was a classmate of Abrahamson's and her father, Ron Tondryk, started the tournament that year in order to honor his daughter's close friend.

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"I am amazed at all of this," said Ron Tondryk, co-tournament director. "The Abrahamson family is so supportive. In the past every player received a T-shirt from Ashley's parents, Jim and Kathy, but this year there is something different. We are keeping it as a surprise for the girls."

"We have an opening ceremony with a parade of teams and the first pitch on Saturday," explained Ron. "The highlight of the tournament is the Ashley Award which goes to one player from each team who best exemplifies the qualities of Ashley Abrahamson... loving the sport of softball, dedication to the game, being a team player and an excellent attitude."

In all, there will be over 300 girls in the U-14 and U-12 age groups playing at Braun Park this weekend, which will make for a busy venue.

There will be teams from Cloquet, Hermantown, Proctor, Duluth, Grand Rapids, Northwestern, Two Harbors, Superior, Sawyer and Bemidji.

"It is really exciting that we have so many teams participating," mentioned Sarah. "It is very meaningful that they are all here to help us remember Ashley with this tournament and we would like to say thank you everyone involved in the tournament. That means a big thanks going out to the Abrahamson family, all the teams and coaches, parents, and especially everyone up at Braun Park including the umpires, grounds crew and everyone involved with the Cloquet Youth Baseball/Softball Association, and Jeff Woollett, who helps make this such a success."

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