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Braun Park packed with action for tourney

In a summer of dodgeball with so much rain, the fourth annual Wood City Classic Softball Tournament went smoothly last weekend at Braun Park in Cloquet. There were plenty of highlights to go around as 32 teams competed in three age divisions.

“It was a special weekend,” said tournament director Adam Maslowski. “When we got to the fields on Friday morning they were under water, but our grounds crew busted their tails off and got the fields in great playing shape.”

The tournament was started in 2020 after the Ashley Abrahamson Tournament ended its long run in Cloquet.

“We still do a lot of things that were done in the Ashley tournament,” Maslowski said. “We give out a Lumberjack award and we also have a parade of teams.”

The Cloquet based Minnesota Blast won the U-14 Gold Division with an impressive win over Hermantown, 6-1.

“Speaking for the U-14 division, there were a lot of really good teams,” said Blast coach Tyler Korby. “Our team has eight Cloquet girls and three Carlton girls and there were about four other teams that could have easily won the championship in the gold division.”

Sisters Ella and Ava Anderson teamed up to strike out 17 Hermantown batters in the championship win. Ella Anderson, Katelyn Cadotte and Sophia DeCaigny all had two hits for the Blast in the championship game.

“We led 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth and then exploded for four runs to get the win,” Korby said. “We beat Moose Lake-Willow River, 2-1, in the semifinals and they also had a heck of a team.”

Moose Lake-Willow River fell in the Gold Division third-place game, 6-4, to Superior.

The Silver Division at U-14 saw Cloquet Sawyer Store down another Cloquet team Community Printing, 15-4.

In the U-12 Gold Division, the Cloquet McGregor Plumbing team lost 10-0 to the Northern Monarchs in the title game, while Superior beat Cloquet Asphalt of Duluth, 6-1, in the third place game.

Barnum finished as runner-up in the U-12 Silver Division after dropping a 2-1 game to Superior Red and it was the Duluth Stars taking third in that division with a win over Duluth Diamonds.

The U-10 Division saw Cloquet Nu Luxe claim the title with a 1-0 win over Esko while third place went to the Twin Ports Rampage, who beat Cloquet Federated Insurance, 9-5.

“The atmosphere at the park all weekend was incredible,” Maslowski said. “Our grounds crew is a bunch of our varsity softball players and they were fantastic. We also gave away over $2,000 dollars in bats to the girls during the tournament, so that was pretty special as well.”

Carlton Meat & Grocery, which runs the concession stand at Braun Park, also donated $500 toward the bat giveaway.

“It was just a fun weekend with big crowds and it was tough to find a parking space,” Korby said. “There was good softball at all levels and things got wrapped up on Sunday with a perfectly sunny day for softball.”