Sixteen youth softball and baseball teams were recognized Thursday evening by Owatonna's Youth 1st program for their summer accomplishments. While the teams may have won many games, and one of the Owatonna Crush teams won a national champion, that's not why they were the focus of attention.

The teams from Owatonna, Medford and the NRHEG area were recipients of the Youth 1st Team Awards honor for their good sportsmanship over the season. Each player received a Twins ticket for an upcoming game and will get the chance to parade around Target Field before the game. Some teams attended Sunday's game.

Youth 1st promotes the attributes of "Conduct, Character and Community," delivering a message that the value of youth sports has nothing to do with the win-loss record. Former Owatonna assistant and Waseca head boys basketball coach Todd Dufault spoke to the large crowd.

He spoke of the life skills gained through youth sports, the value of being a great teammate and the importance of striving for a goal. Dufault, who speaks to schools and leadership teams, said the process is more important than the outcome. He emphasized the importance of the post game handshake and said, "Sports is a vehicle for learning life skills."

Youth 1st founder Mark Arjes thanked the partners that work with his organization. Many of those local sponsors were on hand Thursday to hand out the certificates and tickets to the teams.

Owatonna-are youth softball and baseball teams that were recognized Thursday include

  • third-grade Little League Jaguar Communications
  • fourth-grade Little League Mohs Construction
  • Owatonna Crush 10U Blue, 10U Orange, 12U Blue, 12U Orange
  • Owatonna 12A Blue, 12A White, 12AA
  • Medford 12A
  • Owatonna 13A, 13AA
  • Quad Cities 13AA (NRHEG area)
  • Medford 13A
  • Owatonna 14/15, 14AA


Steele County Fair
Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media

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