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DULUTH - Once you get past high school and college, softball is the
kind of sport that people see as a way to relax and simply have fun, but for
Team Nutrition it's about a lot more.
"It was a matter of finding the girls that have the
heart and are passionate about the game and they want to win," said
Crystal Schubitzke, a shortstop and one of the team’s founders.
Team Nutrition is a Class D women's softball team made up of
players from Duluth and Superior.
“We have some 21 year old girls and 24 and 25, but we do go
as old as 48 but I’m not going to tell you which one's 48," joked Mark
Connor, manager for Team Nutrition.
Despite the age gap, the players have meshed well thanks to
their experience on the diamond, with many current and former collegiate
players on the roster.
"You know where everyone's going to go. You know what
people are going to do. You just have to know your players and when you're good
at what you do it's easy to kind of learn how players play the game," said
Ashley Martin, third baseman for Team Nutrition.
The team had been playing in a Duluth league the last couple
of years, until it folded.
That meant the team would have to travel to find
competition and that travel has paid off, as the team went undefeated, winning
the State Tournament.
Then they reeled off six wins in a row to claim the
Central Division National Title.
"In a sense I think we've been looked at as the bad
news bears just coming out and where's this team coming from and we shock them.
We hit and run and that's usually what I tell the girls on the field is hit and
run," said Schubitzke.
The National Championship qualified Team Nutrition for the
World Championships, an 80-team double elimination tournament.
The team, currently ranked 26th in the nation likes
"We’re going to have to hit the ball and not be
intimidated. I know our defense is awesome and amazing so I’m not really
worried about that. I just think that we need to definitely come up to hit,"
Connor said, "Just staying focused and hitting the
ball, defensively we're so good it's like if we score a couple runs every
inning we're going to win the game."
Team Nutrition leaves early Wednesday morning for the ESPN
Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida.
The team's first game will
be Thursday afternoon against a team from Panama City Beach, Florida.