The International Falls Ice Cats 12U fastpitch softball team hosted the Virginia Blue Devils in a doubleheader June 23.
The teams split victories with the Blue Devils winning game one 15-6 in three innings and the Ice Cats netting game one 5-4 in one inning.
The Blue Devils got things started early with five runs in the top of the first inning.
The Ice Cats got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Neva Kokesh reached home on a wild pitch.
However, the Ice Cat defense struggled to stop the Blue Devils from advancing runners home, with the visitors taking a 15-1 lead after three innings.
The Ice Cat bats started warming up in the bottom of the third, with the home team netting five runs, but the first game was called with a final score of 15-6 due to the game’s time limit being reached.
At the start of game two, it was the Ice Cats’ turn to take the lead at the top of the opening inning, as Kokesh, Laney Taylor, Alyana Koenig and Jaeleigh Carlson all stole home and Alex Johnson reached home after Mara Buller was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Blue Devils got four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, but game two was called off due to weather, giving the Ice Cats the victory.
Head coach Josh Koenig said summer leagues like this are important for a young player’s development.
“The players in our softball program are young and inexperienced when it comes to fundamentals, experience, and game strategy,” he said. “The ability to offer a summer program like this is extremely important and crucial to the overall success of a high school program. This program provides young players with the opportunity to practice two to three times per week where they get the opportunity to work on the fundamentals of the game, develop as a team and have fun doing it. They also get to play games against teams from other communities in the Arrowhead Conference league as well as some additional weekend tournaments.”
Koenig said his team has proven to be very coachable so far and eager to learn new things in the game of softball.
“So far this season, the girls have been doing a very nice job of being coachable and wanting to learn and get better every day,” he said. “The schedule is set up so that players can develop their skills in practices, games, and tournaments and still enjoy their other summer activities. Our summer softball program’s focus is to work hard, play hard, and have fun.”
Grand Rapids tournament
The Ice Cats traveled to Grand Rapids to take part in a tournament.
They went 1-4 during the tournament, picking up a victory over Hibbing, but falling to Greenway, Virginia and host Grand Rapids.