BP softball: Ivers in the outfield

Blooming Prairie’s Sam Ivers, left, and Tessa Ivers, have patrolled the outfield for the Awesome Blossoms this season. BP will play in its third straight Class ‘A’ state softball tournament this Thurday at Caswell Park in Mankato. — Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — When Sam Ivers and Tessa Ivers are playing softball for the Awesome Blossoms, it’s pretty clear they love being on the field together.

When they’re not running down a deep fly ball in the outfield or beating out an infield hit, they’re sprinting to their spots in the outfield between innings to see who can get out there first.

Unfortunately for Sam, a junior, she recently had to turn over the title of the fastest Ivers, to her younger sister Tessa, who is a freshman.

“I remember when I was little and I was so happy because I would be faster than her,” Sam said. “But it’s not even close any more. Now she always looks back at me when she’s running.”

Sam and Tessa grew up playing t-ball together and they would often play catch outside together. Now they’re getting ready to play in BP’s third straight Class ‘A’ state tournament this Thursday in North Mankato at Caswell Park.

BP (20-3 overall), which took fourth at state last year, will open with a game against Eden Valley-Watkins (16-7 overall) at 11 a.m. and will play again at 5 p.m.

For a team with high expectations for the past couple of years, Sam and Tessa have handled it as well as their teammates.

“Sam’s a good older sister to Tessa,” BP head coach Ali Mach said. “She takes care of her and neither of them get down on each other. The whole team does that too, they all are like sisters in some regard. They take care of each other and that’s allowed us to have the success we’ve been having.”

Sam, who plays center field, has gotten used to playing next to Tessa, who plays left field. While she’s not afraid to yell out some sisterly advice during games, she’s also appreciated playing next to her younger sibling on a daily basis.

“I really trust her on the left side and I think she gets to a lot more balls than I do,” Sam said. “She’s a lot faster than I am and I’ve enjoyed playing with her.”

While Sam started on last year’s BP team, Tessa only saw time as a pinch runner. Now she’s ready to experience the state tournament as a full-time player.

“I’m a little nervous and it’ll be a new experience. But I’m pretty excited to do it,” said Tessa. “This year’s been a lot of fun because I’ve learned a lot from the other girls and it’s nice to play with Sam.”

Sam said she’s still nervous to play at state, but it’s more of an exciting feeling than she had last season. After making it to state three years in a row, BP is now starting to feel a little more at home amongst the state’s best.

“I think its starting to kick in that we’re going to state again,” she said. “I’m still nervous, but now we know we’re capable of playing there and we earned our spot there.”

If BP wins its opener at state, it will take on the winner of New Ulm Cathedral (20-4 overall) and Red Lake Falls (20-4 overall). There are two undefeated teams in the tournament in Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg (24-0 overall) and Cherry (23-0 overall) and they play each other in the opening round.

Mach said her team isn’t as worried about who they’ll play, but how they’ll play.

“There is an absolute comfort for us (at state) and I think that’s big,” she said. “You get to that arena and it’s emotionally draining and physically draining. I think we’re going to be better prepared for that. A lot of these kids, it’s their third chance at this and I think they’re ready to roll.”

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