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The North Branch 13UA Traveling baseball team. Front row, from left: Lucas Goggin, AJ Rosario, Brendan Donahue and Layne Brown. Middle row, from left: Jacob Robillard, Jarod McWilliams, Carter Drill and Preston Wolfe. Back row, from left: coach James Robillard, Diesel Haaven, coach Joe Goggin, Everett Thomson, coach Ron Thomson and coach Jon Drill. (Submitted photo)

The District 2 champion North Branch Vikings 13UA youth baseball team has been selected as a Youth 1st Team Award winner. The Vikings will be recognized at CHS Field during a St. Paul Saints game on Sunday, Aug. 25.

Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS) in partnership with Youth 1st, Federated Insurance, Jostens, Pearson, Cashwise, Bennerotte & Associates, Jaguar Communications, The Retrofit Companies, U.S. Bank, Owatonna Motor Company, Profinium and the St. Paul Saints selected youth baseball teams from across the state of Minnesota as the recipients of Youth 1st Team Awards for their outstanding sportsmanship during the 2019 MYAS Gopher State Tournament of Champions Baseball Tournaments.

The Youth 1st Team Award recognizes positive behavior from players, coaches and everyone associated with the team (parents, fans and spectators).

“We are placing the emphasis on how you play the game, which is ultimately more important than if you win or lose,” Mark Arjes, Founder/Director of Youth 1st said. “It has become increasingly difficult to find and retain coaches and officials for youth sports because of the abuse that they take during games.

“We believe it is time to model and encourage values-based actions, creating what we call a Conduct 1st environment where the focus is on the kids, competitive energies are kept in check and officials and opponents are respected.”

“One of the goals within the MYAS mission is to promote sportsmanship, teamwork and cultural interaction through sporting competition,” said Dawson Blanck, MYAS Executive Director. “The entire MYAS team is thrilled to be able to partner with Youth 1st to help us meet those goals within our programs.”

“Recognizing young baseball and softball players for their character is an initiative that’s easy to get behind,” said Derek Sharrer, executive vice president and general manager of the St. Paul Saints said. “We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Youth 1st on the Team Awards program for youth sports teams, coaches, and parents who exemplify good sportsmanship and positive behavior.”

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