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Softball returns to Hancock (with video)

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(Rae Yost / Hancock Record)2 / 2

Fans brought lawn chairs, sweatshirts and at least one brought his pickup.

Although it was a mostly sunny day and temperatures were at least in the 50s, the wind swept across the little league ball field on Friday afternoon, April 7. Still the fans turned out for what was the first Hancock Owl softball game in 28 years.

"It's awesome. It's a little windy but it's still a great day," Stacie Schlief said of watching softball in Hancock. Her daughter Harleigh is a freshman on the team.

"It's her first year of playing softball," Schlief said.

Not many players on the Hancock high school or junior high squads have much experience. The school had been paired with Benson in softball for at least 10 years. This year, there was enough interest in a local program that school officials agreed to start a Hancock team.

"It's great. We've got the numbers," high school principal Tim Paul said from his lawn chair sit under the scoreboard near left field. "It's good to see a lot of girls playing."

Tom Mohr is a long-time baseball and softball fan.

"It's been a long time," Mohr said of the last time he saw high school softball in Hancock. When Mohr heard about the first home game, he knew he had to attend.

"I love ball. I always have," Mohr said. Mohr sat inside his Chevrolet Silverado pickup on the right field side of the fence.

The fence is a short one made for little league play. It wouldn't stop a sharp foul ball or an overthrown ball to third base or first base. Still, fans didn't care and placed lawn chairs outside of play but near the fence.

Sandy Nelson and Angela and Jim Nelson were sitting on lawn chairs to watch the Owls, including Sandy Nelson's daughter Emma, who is the catcher.

"I like it being in Hancock," Angela Nelson said. Although she and her husband Jim, Emma's aunt and uncle, live about the same distance to Benson as to Hancock.

"I'm glad they got the program going," Jim Nelson said.

Fans know there will be la earning curve this season for the inexperienced Owls.

"(Emma's) learning as much as she can," Sandy Nelson said. Overall, the team is "getting a little better. They are doing some good things," she said.

"It will be a big learning curve," Paul said. The team knows that and continues to say it's having fun, win or lose, Paul said.

The fans also seem ready to have fun with softball this season.

"It's good to have it back," Trudy Staples said. Staples' daughter Alexis is on the junior high game.

"I'm excited," Staples said before game time. She was prepared to watch in a stocking hat and with sunflower seeds in her hand.