Carlton Heat posts pair of wins at state
For the Carlton Heat, the recent state softball tournament was much like a flip of a coin. "We played our best two games of the year down there -and our worst two," said coach Brooke Lee. "But we enjoyed it." The 18-and-Under Heat recently compet...
For the Carlton Heat, the recent state softball tournament was much like a flip of a coin.
"We played our best two games of the year down there -and our worst two," said coach Brooke Lee. "But we enjoyed it."
The 18-and-Under Heat recently competed in the ASA Class C state tournament in Austin, Minn. On Day One, Carlton defeated a pair of opponents and went back to their hotel unblemished.
"We played so well both offensively and defensively," Lee said. "And we only had nine girls with us."
That lack of depth cost them the following morning.
"We didn't have any wiggle room," continued Lee. "That made it pretty tough for us."
Carlton had to be at the diamond early the next morning, too.
With a wake-up call around sunrise, Lee said the team failed to come out with the same intensity as the previous day, which resulted in back-to-back losses and the end of the summer season for Carlton.
"The girls just seemed so tired and really came out flat," said Lee, noting that her squad had to leave for the ballpark around 6:30 a.m. from their hotel a half-hour away. "It was really early."
Despite the pair of losses and morning exit from the tournament, Lee said the team finished in the top-six of the 18-team event.
"The girls got a lot of playing time," said Lee. "We're trying to build a program, and this summer was good for all of the girls."
Lee also to mention the success of their U-14 and U-12 programs, noting that many of the girls were playing up in terms of their age level. Lee even brought up a U-12 player to the Heat squad for experience.
"It was very nice to see all of the girls playing," said Lee. "Even though they were playing up, kids still fit in well and everyone was on the same page. That means a lot."
The Heat finished just over .500 on the summer.
A handful of the girls - McKinzie Belanger, Megan Nelson and Megan Bodin - even got the chance to experience the thrill of a national tournament. The trio was invited to play with the Minnesota Xplosion at this past week's tournament in St. Joseph, Mo.
"I experienced national tournaments when I played," said Lee, "and for them to get that chance to play is just great. I'm glad they got that opportunity."
As for the Carlton program, Lee witnessed impressive strides.
"I saw so many improvements this summer," said Lee. "At times our numbers were tough and girls were busy, but that's OK. Good things are going on here and that's huge."