Youth sports return as Mankato Peppers compete in games ahead of weekend tournament

Youth sports return as Mankato Peppers compete in games ahead of weekend tournament

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -The wait is finally over as youth sports begin to compete again in Minnesota.

“Not even being able to be in the dugout is different,” said Zoe Thomson, 16U C/Utility.

“I guess we’re used to being in the dugout, just cheering together, being loud, the fans being right behind us. They aren’t as close to us, the excitement is a little downsized, but it’ll still be fun,” said Tayler Swalve, 16U 3B/OF.

“I think they’re ready to go. They’re close. We have a few more exhibition games here with these tonight. We’ll play Monday and hopefully by the fourth of July tournament, they’ll be good to go,” said Dan Nessler, 16U head coach.

“Remembering the basics of softball will be key because everyone’s been out of the sport,” said Thomson.

“Just focusing on the little things.” said Rhyan Fritz, 16U P/2B.

“The high school season being canceled made each of us more determined this summer, get as much playing time as we can and prepare us for next season,” said Swalve.

“Probably just to enjoy what we have. Enjoy being able to go and play. Once we couldn’t do that, I really missed it,” said Fritz.

“I know I for sure was softball deprived. It’s good to be out here, and be outside,” said Torey Richards, 16U assistant coach.

“The fact we’re out on the field is amazing,” said Thomson.

“We need to get them going, playing. We’re still in a dead period where coaches can’t watch until end of July. DIII and Junior College coaches can come out. Getting into the first part of August, there will be showcases and tournaments. We have to get ready for that so they can be seen,” said Nessler.

“It’ll definitely be something these kids think back on 20-30 years from now. It’s been unprecedented times, but I think you have to control what you can control. Let’s have fun now that we have a chance to go play,” Nessler added.

Right now, 250 fans are allowed to attend games at Caswell Park.

The Mankato Peppers have a couple of upcoming tournaments including the Rising Star tournament this weekend and the Peppers Classic on July 3.

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