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August 2, 2012     Tri-County News
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Thursday, August 2, 2012 Tri-County News Kimball, MN Kimball 12U Gold takes first in state Kimball Gold 12U Minnesota Metro Fast Pitch rec league state champions By Linda Merchant, coach The Kimball Gold 12U fast pitch team attended the Minne- sota Metro Fast Pitch rec league state championship competition in Buffalo over the weekend and came out as the champions. The team finishes their season with an impressive overall record o.f 29 wins and only 3 losses. What a huge accomplishment for this team to become the state champi- ons of the 12U rec division of the Minnesota Metro league. Our first game Saturday, July 28, was against a tough Hutchin- son Lightning team. The gifts had some state tourney jitters and our bats just couldn't find the hits early in the game. We had very strong pitching all weekend long from Katie Merchant and Ken- zie Leither, which kept us in the game until our bats woke up. We beat Hutchinson by a score of 5 to 1. Our next game was against Cloquet and we were much more relaxed, and really had some good hitting from Katie Spaulding, Erin O'Brien, Katie Merchant, Melanie Loehrer and Rachel Mertens. We handled Cloquet easily by a score of 10 to 1. We then came up against Brownton, which we played in the state qualifier, and knew they are a very good tem. We were able to put up 8 runs in the first inning, but Brownton was able to score 4 in their bottom of the inning. The girls had determination and did not want to lose this game. We had outstanding defensive play by Julia Zipoy, Krista Loch, Rachel Mertens and Abbey Schiefelbein. Kenzie Lei- ther came in relief for Katie Mer- chant who had some trouble with the heat. Kenzie pitched a very good game, and we came out on top of Brownton with a score of 10 to 4, and the girls earned the right to play in the championship Sunday, July 29. We didn't know who we would face until we got to the field on Sunday, and again it would be Brownton for the first-place title. The girls were relaxed and knew the job they had to get done. They had worked hard all year to get to where they were and did not want to miss the chance to be state champs. Katie Mer- chant took the mound and pitched an excellent game. She got into a couple of jams, but the defense came through. We had key defen- sive plays by Danielle Terwey-Lyrek and Katie Spaulding. Danielle had a huge catch in right field and Katie Spaulding, catcher, had a big throw down to first base to Melanie Loeh- rer to pick a girl off of first base. All the girls had key at-bats in this game to score us runs. Emily Tadych had excellent at-bats, getting on base both times and coming around to score. We led the whole game, and never let down. We continued to play hard and score runs. The score was 8 to 0 when we came up to bat in the bottom of the 3rd inning. We knew that if we scored 4 runs, the cham- pionship would be ours. Brown- ton's pitchers had been struggling all game, and we were able to get on base because of walks. Brown ton's pitcher walked in 1 run and we still needed 3 more to put the game away. Katie Merchant came up to bat with bases loaded and two outs. Katie quickly got 2 strikes on her and was in a hole, but she would not give in to the pitcher. Katie launched a pitch into right center to score the three runs needed for the Kimball Gold" Team to win the champion- ship in three innings by a score of 12 to 0. Cubs win! Cubs win! The girls got the job done. They all worked so hard to achieve this goal. We had girls give up family vacations, come home early from vacation and even Little Miss Kimball and her prin- cess gave up riding in a parade just so they could be with the team and play the game they love. Each and every member of this team contrib- uted to this victory in some way, and they truly did play as a team. The coaches are so proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of this team. It has been a GREAT season. Sports Leisure Page 15 II$$111 III Kimball 12U Gold softball team (above) placed first in state. Coach Jamie Leither promised his team that if they won, he would shave his head and have a K shaved into it. The girls were thrilled to watch as his wife Dee shaved it (photo below left). Submitted photos. Special thanks to our dedicated your daughters. Thank you to all the book keeper and bench mom, Dee fans that came out and supported Leither, who was there every game, us all weekend. You could see by the keeping the gifts in the right line people wearing blue and gold in the up, but also keeping the coaches in crowd, it doesn't matter what team line. Thank you to all the parents of your daughter plays on, in the end the gifts. We know that you all make we are all from Kimball and couldn't lots of sacrifices in your busy lives to be prouder. Lastly, we would like to get the gifts to games and practices, thank the Kimball Booster club for Without your support, we would not their continued support of youth have achieved this goal. Be proud of athletics. Without them none of South this would be possible. Thanks to the booster club, the future of Kim- ball gifts' fast pitch is very bright. On behalf of the coaching staff, we are so proud to have coached this group of young women. They worked hard all season and brought home the state championship. It was a fantas- tic season. Kimball, be proud of your 12U gifts Minnesota Metro Fast Pitch State Champions! Way to go, CUBS! 27-28 These photos were taken during the South Haven Days parade Saturday, July 28. Staff photos by Anton Matua.