Softball: Wounded Warriors' appearance highlights festive weekend

July 7 Who: Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team vs. Brainerd All-Stars What: Exhibition softball game Where: Mills Baseball Field, 1700 Mill Ave., Brainerd When: Gates open 6 p.m., game time 7:30 p.m. Admission: Free--donations accepted July 8-...


July 7

Who: Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team vs. Brainerd All-Stars

What: Exhibition softball game

Where: Mills Baseball Field, 1700 Mill Ave., Brainerd

When: Gates open 6 p.m., game time 7:30 p.m.


Admission: Free-donations accepted

July 8-9

What: This One's for Hop Softball Tournament

Where: Memorial Park, 1700 Mill Ave., Brainerd


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An appearance by the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team will be the centerpiece of an action-packed weekend in the lakes area July 7-9.
A few Wounded Warriors will kick off the festivities by playing baseball with individuals with disabilities at 1 p.m. July 7 at the Brainerd Lakes Miracle League Field located in Bane Park in south Brainerd.
At 5 p.m. July 7, the Wounded Warriors will receive an escort from law enforcement, the fire department, Air Force and Legion Riders. The escort will start at Baxter City Hall, continue east on Highway 210 and north on Highway 3 (Mill Avenue) to Mills Field.

WWAST will then play an exhibition game against a Brainerd all-star team at 7:30 p.m. July 7 at Mills Field.


WWAST is a charitable organization whose mission is to inspire and educate others while enhancing the health and welfare of Wounded Warrior amputees. The team consists of competitive, athletic veterans who have lost limbs while serving their country. The team represents all branches of the military and includes veterans with a variety of amputations.

According to Eryk Haapajoki, director of the This One's for Hop Softball Tournament, this will be WWAST's first appearance in the lakes area. WWAST will also play in the This One's for Hop tournament July 8-9 at Memorial Park in north Brainerd.

"The Friday event will be a patriotic celebration with everything we've got going on," Haapajoki said. "Then the tournament is a favorite of many teams. We're still in the process of getting registrations, getting the whole weekend and the brackets set up. We've got teams from North Dakota and Minnesota coming as usual."

Also on the weekend docket are former Miss Brainerd Savannah Cole, who was Miss Minnesota in 2014. She will sing the national anthem before the exhibition game.

Kat Perkins, who appeared on Season Six of "The Voice" and advanced to the TV show's semifinals, will give a special performance at the exhibition game.

"Monster" Mike Schultz will toss out the ceremonial first pitch. The former Pillager resident, now of St. Cloud, suffered a severe compound fracture to his left knee during an ISOC National Championship Snocross Series event in Michigan in December of 2008. The accident led to the amputation of his leg above the knee. Schultz has been instrumental in the development of prosthetics for action sports.

Today, Schultz continues to dominate in adaptive snocross and motocross. He has won six ESPN X-Games gold medals. He competes in other adaptive sports including skiing, snowboarding and wakeboarding. In addition, he shares his ability to adapt and overcome injury with veterans around the world, as well as participating in military adaptive programs to help the wounded return to action.

At the exhibition game, there will be activities for kids and adults, time to get autographs and to take pictures. Admission is free but donations will be accepted. All proceeds will go to the Wounded Warriors.


Headlining the Brainerd all-star roster is Brainerd High School graduate and NFL offensive lineman Joe Haeg, who was a member of four national championship teams at North Dakota State University. Last season, as a rookie, he started at three positions for the Indianapolis Colts. Haeg will be joined on the roster by about 20 Brainerd all-stars.

On the first day of the tournament July 8, the annual home run derby will be conducted at 5 p.m.

"They're an extremely talented team that will do well in this tournament," Haapajoki said of WWAST. "I hope some will hit in the home run derby."

Proceeds from the tournament go to support various charitable organizations.

Brainerd All-Stars

Women: Nikki Anderson, Jayda Johnson, Kayla Janson, Lindsey Jourdan, Erin Thiesse, Sarah Oehrlein

Men: Michael Zauhar, Todd Vanek, Mike Bjerkness, Shon Roberts, Keith Bartholomaus, Wade Haapajoki, Mitch McLain, Joe Haeg, Cole Smith, Colin MacDonald, Ron Ehoff, Cory Neugebauer, Derek Owen, Joe Janson (player-coach)

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