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Agate Softball Team Faces Actual Growing Pain

This is my second season coach­ing the Agate softball team. My grown daughters have told me they know when I have been with these girls because I am smiling. It begs the question, “Is it because they are that much fun or is it because I am normally a grump?” It will remain one of life’s mysteries.

Like many local squads, the Ag­ates remain a very young team. In each game, we have started a sig­nificant number of eighth and ninth graders. They are terrific athletes, but softball is a more complicated game than one might think. There is lots to learn and plenty of oppor­tunities to make mistakes.

This year, our team has more illness and injuries than I ever thought possible. We have had our full team for only one game. Our talented pitchers include eighth grader Alexa Jones and freshmen Raegan Hogenson and Lainee An­derson. Last week we were facing a very talented Cromwell team. Alexa was ill and during the game, Raegan cracked a bone in her fin­ger. Lainee was then pitching and took a line drive in the abdomen. Suddenly, our pitching staff was in the emergency room and an early lead quickly evaporated.

In addition to the two juniors at­tending Lake Superior College as post secondary students, seventeen players are on either the honor roll or merit roll. I am used to having my players smarter than their coach, and this is no exception. I am proud of them.

Freshman Hayden Bright is a talented shortstop and fellow ninth-grader Ashlynn Cavallin will be a future star in center field. Eighth graders Emmy Bentler and Hallie Komerak have been strong starters in the outfield. Freshman Rose Huddleston has returned to softball and provided great innings in the outfield. The trio of young pitchers will grow into a strong, talented staff. Juniors Addy Bentler and Marlee Hoganson have battled through some injuries and made key contributions game after game,

Senior Captains Harper Powell and Jocelyn Seagren have been su­perb leaders for our team and have anchored the right side of the in­field at first base and second base respectively. Sophomores Lydia Lifto and Viveca Uremovich have made strong contributions at al­most every position in the infield and outfield.

Annie Seaberg, who this spring student taught in Two Harbors, joined our staff as an assistant coach. Annie, a former softball and bas­ketball standout at Dassell-Cokato has contributed much. Some school district in Minnesota will be very lucky to hire her as an educa­tor and coach. She is an amazing young lady.

I have been fortunate to again have Ric Hogenson, Mike Mc­Grath and Rich Powell as assistant coaches and teachers of the game.

Our goal is to finish strong in the last week of the season and com­pete hard in the playoffs. I appreci­ate these girls a great deal and they are a joy to coach! Our final home game is Friday, May 17th at 4:30 against a talented Ely team. It is also Parent’s Night! Come out and support the Agates Softball team.

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