A special night for all involved: Fastpitch softball All-Stars honor 50th Aniversary with 7-7 tie

Jamie Glenn/Daily Mining Gazette Northern Michigan’s Mel Baker watches a pitch head to the plate during the Copper Country Women’s Fastpitch Softball League All-Star Game Friday in Chassell.

CHASSELL — Players both young and old put their respective teams aside to come together in celebration of 50 years of Women’s Fastpitch Softball Friday night with the Copper Country Women’s Fastpitch Softball League All-Star game at Chassell Field.

The league was founded in the summer of 1969. Louis Knuttila and Chris Tervo helped kick off the fun by throwing the opening pitch.

Fittingly, the game resulted in a tie, 7-7.

“(With) this game, you still get to showcase your skill and have fun, but it’s in a different carefree way especially today,” said Northern Michigan’s player-manager Melissa Baker. “We had all of the (previous) players show up. It was just good to see everyone that’s been involved with this league for the last 50 years.

“It changes every year, but as you get older you just hope that it continues on. Your muscles aren’t as good as they once were, but it’s good to see young ones jumping in too. I’m proud of all the girls that are playing and out there and the talent that we’d had throughout the season.”

Baker continued to marvel at how special it is to be a part of a cornerstone summer sport in the Copper Country.

“It’s pretty amazing that something like this has been going on (for so long),” she said. “It becomes part of you and (is not) just a thing you play on Mondays. The league becomes part of you.

The Visitors took an early 3-0 lead as Celia Peterson walked, Andrea Kariniemi and Baker also walked. All three scored. Isabelle Cleary also drew a walk, but she could not get home before the inning drew to a close.

In the bottom the first, the Home squad did their best to one-up their opponents by scoring their first four batters. Vera Peterson tripled. Molly Berg followed with a walk. Jonna Berg doubled. All three scored to even things. Josie Conners also got on and scored, putting Home up 4-3 after the inning ended.

Home added another run in the second as Molly Berg reached after a long at bat and later scored on a double by Jonna Berg.

The Visitors got one back in the third when Delaney Heinonen walked and later scored, making it 5-4 in favor of the Home team.

In the top of the fourth, the Visitors struck twice to take the lead. Baker walked and later scored. Cleary got herself on base next and also scored, but her team up 6-5.

Larissa Anderson reached and later scored as the Home team evened the score in the bottom of the fourth. Vera Peterson also scored before the inning came to a close, giving her team back the lead, 7-6, before the intermission celebration.

“It’s just fun getting to (play) with all the other girls and kind of getting to know some other (players),” said Larissa Anderson. “It’s competitive, but it’s also just have (to) have a good time. We did have a lot of fun. We all hit the ball and we all got some nice plays.”

Looking to draw even a final time, the Visitors did so in the top of the fifth. Celia Peterson walked and scored two batters later.