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Last chance to see Huskies well worth effort

It's sometimes alarming how quickly summer goes around here. Trying to squeeze in outdoor activities can turn into a whirlwind that disappears in a hurry.

It's sometimes alarming how quickly summer goes around here. Trying to squeeze in outdoor activities can turn into a whirlwind that disappears in a hurry.

The coming week marks the start of practice for fall sports at our local schools.

Football, soccer, volleyball and cross country athletes begin seasons that will continue up to winter.

Before we close the book on these hot and dry months, the Duluth Huskies are making a spirited run at their first-ever Northwoods League championship.

As of this writing, they lead the North Division with just a few games to play. A first-place finish would mean a playoff series with St. Cloud beginning Monday.

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In this place where nice weather can be a rarity and must be taken advantage of, I think we forget about the Huskies and the high quality baseball they bring here.

It would be great to see more people show up at Wade Stadium, as we're lucky to have a franchise that many cities long for.

The games I've attended this year have been entertaining and well-played. Pitching has been solid and fundamentals are executed with precision and skill.

The pace is usually quick, without the dead time that often drains the life out of games at the professional levels.

What's most impressive about this league is the hustle displayed by all of the teams.

Since the Huskies began play in 2003, I've yet to see a game where players from both sides didn't give their absolute best.

Regardless of the score or position in the standings, maximum effort is put forth every day.

To me, this is real baseball. Ground balls and pop flies are run out, slides are hard but clean and coaching strategy becomes key as close games are the norm.

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It's particularly fun to watch Huskies' Joey Bonadonna, a smallish second baseman who plays the game as it should be.

Seemingly always in the middle of the action, he brings a spark that typifies what the Northwoods League is about.

Extremely adept at stealing bases, he gets home fans on the edge of their seats every time he reaches first base.

This Sunday night the team will play its final regular season home game of the year, a contest that could have a postseason berth riding on the outcome.

It's been designated Fan Appreciation Night with a family special that includes four tickets, four hot dogs and four soft drinks for $20. Players will also be available for autographs at the game's conclusion.

A spectacular fireworks display afterward is another reason to attend. Shows in the past have been on par with those at most major league stadiums.

There's nothing like playoff baseball, and, should the Huskies advance, this week will bring postseason excitement back to Wade Stadium once again.

Last year's two-games-to-one loss to Thunder Bay was tough to accept , but the top-notch level of intense play was appreciated by all who attended.

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A lengthy round of applause accompanied the home team as they shook hands with the opposition and made their way off the field.

With the possibility of a series with rival St. Cloud on the horizon and most summer activities coming to an end, local baseball fans should come out in droves.

There have been nights this summer when huge crowds have descended on the old ballpark, so it is a possibility.

No one will be disappointed with the effort.

Dave LeGarde is the Duluth Central basketball coach and a sports aficionado. Readers can e-mail questions and comments to dlegarde@charter.net .

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