Huskies Ready for Long-Awaited Return to Diamond

The Huskies will open the season on Monday against Waterloo. First pitch at Wade Stadium is set for 6:35 p.m. 

DULUTH, Minn. – Last season, the Duluth Huskies had to cancel their season due to the pandemic and it was a quiet summer. But now, we’re less than 24 hours away from summer ball finally returning to Duluth and the players and staff are ready to play ball.

“Super excited, definitely nervous, definitely haven’t played in front of more than maybe 50 people,” infielder Kimo Fukofuka said.

Players from all over the country made it to Duluth this weekend for their first practices before the Huskies opener on Monday night.

“Just getting the jitters out of the way because I know everybody’s been playing together at their own schools but now we’re all coming together and it’s going to be fun because it’s game 1 of 68,” outfielder Kyle Westfall said.

The Huskies roster, which is larger than normal, is mostly full of players who have never been to the Northland.

“Coastal Carolina, I was used to the beach and stuff like that but it was really cool to see Lake Superior coming up,” Westfall said.

“I think I’ve made a really close connection with guys already and we’re already talking about meeting each other in each other’s states,” Fukofuka added.

But they also have a few local players in Chisholm’s Eli Sundquist and Duluth Marshall’s Ben Pedersen who will make the start on the mound on opening day in his old ballpark.

“I came out watching these games when I was a little kid so to come out and play for them, it’s a big deal. Pitching back at Wade is a lot of fun, a lot of great memories here from high school,” Pedersen said.

As the Huskies prepare to bring summer ball back to the community, the players are excited to make up for lost playing time.

“Get a lot of reps in is what everybody needs and what they do in the summer so going into my new school next year, it’s going to be really nice to get as much reps as I can here,” Westfall said.

“A lot of them have missed the game and they’re eager just to get back on the field and enjoy themselves. Summer ball is really about having guys find themselves and learn about themselves,” manager Marcus Pointer added.

And each player has something they want to work on before they head back to their schools.

“Definitely bunting and really just putting the ball in play as much as I can,” Westfall said.

“Really looking forward to getting back into that starter role. I was working a lot more out of reliever type role at Missouri. That’s where you see the most development is when you’re throwing and putting your arm under a little more,” Pedersen added.

“These kids are here to get better and get better for their schools but also hopefully go play pro ball some day,” pitching coach Will Peterson said.

While they’ve only been practicing together for just two days, the Huskies feel a strength will be their speed.

“When constructing a roster, I definitely build it on speed just based on our field. We play on a bigger park with turf and there’s a lot of ground. We like to steal the bases, play aggressively,” Pointer said.

As the team continues to bond and learn about their strengths, the Huskies are just more than ready for first pitch.

“It’s just doing what you do best. We get to play a kids game for fun,” Peterson said.

The Huskies will open the season on Monday against Waterloo. First pitch at Wade Stadium is set for 6:35 p.m.

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