Minnesota Blast Softball Returns to the Field
The Minnesota Blast is a summer travel softball team that's hoping to play in tournaments every weekend.
CLOQUET, Minn. – When the MSHSL canceled spring sports this year, local softball players lost their season, which really impacted the seniors.
“It was really sad because we wanted to go back and try to win state this year. Last year we got third so we wanted to try and come back and win,” Minnesota Blast 18U pitcher Lucy Sinkkonen said, who just graduated from Cloquet High School and was on the Lumberjacks’ team that made it to state last year.
“We had basketball state so I didn’t get to have the one week of softball practice we had. We didn’t make a big run last year but we had six seniors graduating so everything was going to be new and it was going to be exciting to see how it played out and how everyone fit in the field so it was going to be a good year,” 18U player Bryton Kukowski said, who just graduated from Hermantown and played for the Hawks.
But now, the Minnesota Blast is back in action. The Blast is a summer travel softball team based out of Cloquet, with 47 girls playing across four different teams.
“I was really excited. I honestly didn’t think we’d play softball this summer. And I was really excited to get back on the field with my friends,” 14U player Carly Johnson said.
When the state started to ease restrictions, the Blast quickly came up with a plan to return to the field.
“Disinfecting equipment to taking temperatures prior to practice to hand sanitizer and taking breaks and following the guidelines that we were given by the state. Pods of 10 and now we’re up to 25 and we can actually scrimmage within our own team and go play a little bit. It was kind of like Christmas morning when we got to practice on June 1. Lots of smiles and it was pretty cool to get those kids back out there,” club director of the Minnesota Blast Tyler Korby said.
“A lot of other sports haven’t been able to practice or meet so we’re just really lucky,” 14U player Roena Diver added.
The Blast is made up of players representing 18 different schools from across Northern Minnesota and Iron River, Wisconsin.
“It’s fun seeing them in the high school leagues when we’re playing against each other, just playing against them but I like being on the same team as them,” Kukowski said.
“I just like that it’s really strong and like a family. It’s really the team that helps to love the sport,” 14U player Jill Anderson added.
The Blast hopes to play in tournaments every weekend to get their players the reps they missed out on in the spring.
“We got to practice but had to distance but it was still super fun,” Diver said.
“We actually had the umpire behind the pitching circle, usually they’re behind the plate, so that was new for us. Every foul ball we have to go get and bring it in and sanitize it and clean it off. They sprayed down the dugouts this weekend in between games. It’s still the same game once you’re on the field, we’re playing the same game and these girls can really play,” Korby added.
While some parts of the games are different, these players are just enjoying every moment.
“Not taking anything for granted and playing hard every chance you get because you never know when it’s going to end,” Kukowski said.
To learn more, visit the MN Blast website.