The Junior Olympic State Fastpitch Softball Tournament is happening in Minot for the first time this weekend. The Minot Storm has opened up opportunities for small-town fastpitch players.
Fences are going up, lines are getting painted, grass is being mowed and bags are being moved. The Junior Olympic State Fastpitch Softball Tournament is happening this weekend, and they are busy preparing.
“The field is a certain size for the girls. the bases are a different length and we just want to make sure all the girls enjoy it and set the place up for girls fastpitch for the weekend,” said Thor Nelson, Minot Storm coach.
65 teams from all over the state are competing in 155 games. On Sunday, eight different division teams will be crowned state champions. One of the teams competing is the Minot Storm.
“We get those small communities that just don’t have enough of their own players and we offer them an opportunity to play in our program and hopefully they take it back to their community and get other girls interested,” Nelson added.
Some players live in Mohall, Burlington even Stanley. It’s a long trek for these girls, but they say it’s worth it.
“It’s a great time. You get to meet a whole bunch of new people and it’s fun. The drive is kind of rough sometimes, it’s kind of inconvenient, but overall, it’s a good experience,” said player Janie Savelkoul from Mohall.
“I get to play with a whole bunch of different people from different cities that are like normally my rivals, I get to play with them now, so it’s cool for the friendships,” said player Brynley Benno from Burlington.
And this weekend—is all about the base hits, the runs scored and the ladies on the diamond.
“It’s just great to look around and see so many girls with smiles on their face playing a game just for them. That’s one of my selling points when I talk to the girls about playing is, ‘hey, no boys allowed,'” said Nelson.
With Minot hosting the tournament, the local economy stands to benefit.
Around 825 softball players are in town–and they’ve brought their families. They’ll be staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and doing some shopping.
“With having this many, 65 teams coming to town like this, estimated economic impact it has on the city of Minot is roughly about $480,000. So, it’s certainly great to have this event here in the city of Minot,” said Chad Wright, Visit Minot.