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Copper Country Crush receive softball, baseball equipment

Copper Country Crush’s Glenn Johnson and Craig Biekkole, Keweenaw Chevrolet general manager Brandon Schlief and Copper Country Crush’s Steve Mattson pose at Keweenaw Chevrolet on Monday, April 12, 2021, in Houghton. (Eddie O’Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — It was like Christmas in April for the Copper Country Crush softball and baseball organization earlier this week.

The non-profit received around $500 in donated equipment and another $500 to be used accordingly. The donation came through their sponsor Keweenaw Chevrolet in Houghton and arrived in a number of boxes at the dealership.

“General Motors has a youth baseball and softball program they do every year,” said Keweenaw Chevrolet general manager Brandon Schlief. “It is a program where you can go and ‘shop’ for things you need.”

For Crush that meant, bats, balls and equipment bags among other things.

Crush president Glenn Johnson said that the equipment and money will be put to good use this summer and for seasons to come.

“We (Crush) got started around five years ago,” he said. “At that time, we put together a local team (10-12-year-olds) to go and compete in a softball tournament in Escanaba, and we just got smoked. So, we thought why don’t we put together a travel team, and we began with one team of 11 girls.”

That idea has blossomed into a program that now has 100 boys and girls that range in ages five to 18. This includes six softball teams and four baseball teams. Johnson said he hopes that teams can get in around 30 games this summer between tournaments and other games.

“We were able to get out on the field earlier this week, but many of the girls have been in the batting cages (at the Mine Shaft) since January,” Johnson said. “We plan to have teams practice twice a week moving forward.”

Schlief, who has a girl who plays softball with Crush, said it has been great to see the progress she and the other players have made.

“It’s been so much fun to watch,” he said. “They develop their skills really fast.”

Johnson added that Crush is planning a tournament of their own which is set for June 25-27 at the Driving Park in Hancock. In the meantime, he and all those involved are very grateful to Keweenaw Chevy and all of the Crush sponsors.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” he said.

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