Albina – When she was nine years old, Alaina Saari decided she was going to play softball in college.
This dream recently came true for Sari after she signed with Alpina Community College, making her longtime dream a reality.
“It feels really good. It feels like a dream come true because I dreamed of playing softball in college and finding the right college and achieving my goals since I was a very young child,” said Sarri, a recent Marquette High School graduate. “I am really proud of what I have reached. “
Sarri was one of two Upper Peninsula players to sign recently with the Lumberjacks as Rock-Mid Peninsula alumnus Shaelyn Lampinen has also signed with the ACC.
Like Sarri, Lampinen was passionate about playing softball in college and felt comfortable joining ACC coach Kristen Sobek and her program.
“It’s a sigh of relief. I’ve been working really hard to get (an autograph), so knowing I signed with a college that wants me is really comforting, which is great,” said Lampinen.
The ACC has been a draw for many Upper Peninsula players in the past and Sobeck will have players who are eager to contribute. Both were scheduled to play for a team coached by Subic in Barcelona, Spain last summer representing Team USA in a national softball tournament before it was canceled.
Lampinen also played for the travel soccer team Adam was Sarri’s father.
Sarri, who plans to study criminal justice, played the pitcher and shortstop for Marquette. While she expected a higher level of competition in college, she said she looks forward to bonding with her new classmates while playing a game she loves.
“I think one thing will be the bond that connects me to many girls and create new bonds,” Sarri said. “I really think it’s a bond with a lot of girls. It’s just a fun time to get together and it’s just such a fun sport.”
Lampinen, a diamond on the Eben Junction Superior Central, grew up playing baseball and switched to softball when she was 13. She plans to pursue her studies in photojournalism. She’s used to working hard, pushed to practice every day from Mid-Peninsula High to Superior Central High for training and games, and she’s looking forward to the challenge of playing at the college level.
“I think the biggest transition will be my workout routine,” Lampinen said. “I haven’t had a full workout routine during the summer because I do other sports, so switching from other sports to playing sports would be a change for me.”