The Scheel’s softball all-star series gives North Dakota athletes a unique chance to play with the same girls they usually compete against, but for three all-state players, this is just the beginning of their journey together.
Logan Gronberg, Brooklyn Morris, and Taya Hopfauf are three of the best softball players in the state. They’re all from the west, and all headed to play at the University of North Dakota. While that may seem like something that should be a common occurrence, it isn’t.
“They haven’t had a lot of North Dakota kids in the past and I think you can talk to any of the girls that were recruited this year, and we want to change that somewhat of a stereotype of not recruiting from North Dakota,” former Century outfielder Brooklyn Morris said. “I think it’s really important to have North Dakota kids go to North Dakota schools.”
In the last 15 years just seven players from North Dakota have stayed in state to play division one softball with just two of them playing for more than two seasons. That’s an opportunity this trio doesn’t take lightly.
“I think it’s amazing to have not only myself, but two other girls from North Dakota play in North Dakota to be able to represent our home state and be able to play at that higher level, and just show North Dakota that there’s girls here that are capable of playing too,” former Dickinson High School catcher Taya Hopfauf said.
For Morris and Gronberg this means a chance to play together once more, something they’ve done in travel ball since the age of six. Now they’ll get to join forces with Hopfauf, a friend they’ve competed against for just as long.
“I mean it makes it a lot easier knowing that I have some kind of support system up there with friends I’ve had forever and known forever,” former Bismarck High School pitcher Logan Gronberg said. “I’m really close with their families too and we’ve all known each other forever and are really comfortable with each other.”
“When we all three committed and we learned we were going to be teammates it was exciting to know that those rivals that I’ve had my whole life are going to be my teammates in the future,” Hopfauf said.
These future Fighting Hawks say they’re ready for the next level, and they’ll have something to prove when they get there.
“I guess just to prove that even though we’re from Bismarck we can compete in DI,” Gronberg said.