June 26th, 2022
Ninety-six teams in four age divisions (12 and under; 14 and under, 16 and under, and 18 and under) are coming to Mankato, North Mankato and St. Peter. The Mankato Area Girls Fastpitch Association (MAGFA), also known as The Peppers, is working with multiple communities to have games over three days at Caswell Park (North Mankato), Sibley and Jaycee Parks (Mankato), and Jefferson Fields (St. Peter) July 1st to the 3rd.
MAGFA President, Pam Kind, is particularly excited this year as the organization celebrates it’s 40th year and the Peppers intend to put together a special event, “We have 8 teams registered from Canada that will be coming down to play with some of the best softball teams from across the Midwest. We have some of the best teams from Minnesota, but we also have teams coming in from Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. The years of work from dozens of past board members have set this tournament up as a special one that always packs hotels across Greater Mankato.”
Utilizing every tournament capable field in the area to undertake this annual event, the Peppers decided to add a few special features this year. At the opening ceremonies, held at 8:40 am on July 1st at each of the 4 softball complexes, Mayor Mark Dehen of North Mankato (Caswell), Mayor Najwa Massad of Mankato (Sibley), and Mayor Shanon Nowell of St. Peter(Jefferson), along with local sports broadcasting legend Barry Wortel (Jaycee) will be throwing out the first pitches.
Additionally, the Peppers are introducing the “Classic Sportsmanship Award” at the tournament. One team in each age group will be recognized for bringing outstanding sportsmanship to our community based on the etiquette of their players, coaches, and fans over the first two days of the tournament. The award will be presented on Sunday to the teams identified by umpires as exemplifying Classic Sportsmanship.
The Classic Sportsmanship Award is made possible by a generous donation by the WowZone. As the award is focused on sportsmanship as reviewed by the tournament umpires, and the tournament is only possible with the time commitment umpires make over the entire weekend, Pub 500 has donated meals for the umpires of the Peppers Classic Softball Tournament.
“The Peppers board has made it a point of emphasis that sportsmanship matters. The shortage of umpires or referees in youth sports is a real problem across Minnesota. By setting a standard for how we expect our teams and fans to behave, while showing appreciation to umpires who make these tournaments possible, the Peppers Classic is an example for other tournaments. Thank you to the WowZone and Pub 500 for making this possible,” shared John Considine, Peppers Tournament Committee Chair.
An example of the Pepper’s emphasis of sportsmanship and building good character was recently shared with members of the Peppers Tournament Committee. A team from Wisconsin, the “Outlawz”, who will be playing in the Peppers Classic Tournament this upcoming weekend, passed along a special effort taken on by players of the team.
Coach of the Wisconsin Outlawz 12u Red team, Joe Daggett relayed that, “We are partnering with Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP) in North Mankato. The girls will be packing a weekend’s worth of meals in small bags for around 1,000 area kids on Thursday, June 30th at their facility (2120 Howard Drive). Along with volunteering their time, to-date the girls have raised over $1,000, and will also present a check to FOCP when they are done packing meals.”
The Peppers would like to echo the sentiment shared by Lori Wollmuth, Community Relations Manager at Feeding our Communities Partners, “A huge thank you to the Wisconsin Outlawz 12U Red for making the choice to give their time and energy to our cause. Hunger should never be a barrier to a child’s success. Because of (the coach) and the team, it won’t be.”
Pool play for the Peppers Classic Tournament will be held on July 1st and 2nd with bracket play commencing on Sunday July 3rd at Caswell Park (North Mankato), Sibley and Jaycee Parks (Mankato), and Jefferson Fields (St. Peter). The Classic Sportsmanship Awards and bracket play winner awards will be awarded on Sunday.
Please join the Mankato Area Girls Fastpitch Association for the best weekend of CLASSIC softball!