Scandia youth softball team inspires

SCANDIA, Minn. – A 5th and 6th grade girls softball team in the small Minnesota town of Scandia is giving us all a better picture of what being on a team is all about.

"This year I've really seen them grow into a close team," said head coach Robb Walrath.

On the squad, is 12-year-old Swapana Clements. Born with polio, Swapana's right leg needs a brace and crutches are a necessity to get around. But that hasn't stopped her from going out for softball.

"My daughter came home and said Swapana wants to play," said Walrath. "I said, 'OK, but we'll treat her like everyone else.'"

The team has rallied around her. She hits, fields and throws. That disability is hardly visible. And it's brought the whole team together.

"We all encourage each other," says 11-year-old Frankie Tarlizzo. "We're so proud of her, too."

In a day and age where athletes have big egos, this group of girls is showing that being a teammate means support, care, and acceptance.

"On this team it doesn't matter if I have crutches," says Clements. "We all cheer for one another, because we know we'll all do awesome."

And they have done awesome. The Scandia Wizards won their league championship and the league's tournament.


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