Jul. 26—The Willmar 10-and-under fast-pitch softball team had an impressive weekend.
Willmar took third at the NAFA Northern Nationals in Cottage Grove. The Willmar squad was one of 86 teams participating in the tournament from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Willmar went 1-2 in pool play and 4-2 in the bronze bracket to finish third of 32 teams in its bracket.
Willmar played five games on Sunday because of rain on Saturday.
In pool play, Willmar lost to Soderville 6-3 and Sartell 9-0, then beat the Mankato Peppers 14-2.
In bracket play, Willmar beat Cottage Grove 10-2, Wayzata 6-0, Rosemount 8-3 and East Ridge 3-2 before losing to Chanhassen 2-1. Willmar then fell to the Gamblers 5-3.
Chanhassen took first and the Gamblers took second.
It was the last tournament of the year. Willmar played in five tournaments. Kelly Zuidema is head coach and Anthony Stern and Matt Carroll are assistant coaches.
Team members are: Brynnlee Carroll, Hadlee Carroll, Claire Guennigsmann, Ella Kuefler, Amelia Kveene, Ayla Jones, Ayla Rudenick, Kensley Stern, Brooklynn Wadsworth and Sydney Zuidema.
A number of area baseball players have been selected to the Minnesota American Legion All-Star Prospects series.
Dylan Alexander and PJ Johnson of Glenwood-Lowry, Brady Snell of Montevideo, Bryce Sneller of Granite Falls, and Grayson Fuchs and Eli Nelson of Paynesville are all on one of the four teams of all-stars selected state-wide.
Alexander is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher in Minnewaska Area's class of 2024. He's playing for the Blue Team. Johnson (5-10, 170, '23) is a pitcher for the Gold Team.
Sneller (6-5, 225, '23) is a first baseman on the Gold Team.
Snell (6-1, 230, '23) is a pitcher/first baseman on the White Team.
Fuchs (6-0, 165, '23) is a shortstop on the Gold Team. Nelson (5-11, 175, '23) is a catcher/pitcher on the Blue Team.
The Prospect Series Tournament is Aug. 6 in Bloomington. To be an all-star, coaches from the around the state nominated players whom they felt represented the top talent in Minnesota. Players from 43 programs were selected.
There are eight current Willmar Stingers who have been selected for the 2022 Northwoods League Dreams Showcase.
The Showcase features four teams of the top talent in the league and will be played Tuesday, Aug. 2 at Copeland Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The doubleheader will feature players who were selected by Major League Baseball scouts. Before the games, players participate in workouts in front of the scouts.
Playing from Willmar are: right-handed pitcher John Klein (Minnesota State-Mankato); catcher Drey Dirksen (Willmar and Augustana); first baseman Will Hodo (Alabama); second baseman Zac Corbin (Kennesaw State); right-hander Logan Samuels (Montevallo); right-hander Dylan Matela (Georgia State); and left-hander Tucker Novotny (Minnesota).