Norah Levenhagen invited to Hall of Fame softball tournament
It was a typical Sunday morning and Norah Levenhagen was relaxing on the weekend.
Then, her phone started vibrating.
It was a FaceTime call from her father, Jeff Levenhagen, who was out in Hawaii with Norah's mother, Jennifer Levenhagen. She didn't think much about the call because she thought they were just checking in and saying hello.
To her surprise, the call took a completely different direction.
Jeff told Norah that she was one of 10 Minnesota softball players to be selected to the Hall of Fame Tournament in Oklahoma City at the end of June.
"I was really excited once I heard the news from my dad," Norah said. "I'm also really excited about the competition from the tournament."
The Hall of Fame Tournament consists of the best 12-year-old softball players in the country. Norah's 12U softball head coach, Stacy Lambert, has coached her for the last four seasons and has seen her grow as a player and as an individual.
Stacy said Norah was able to strike out pretty much every batter in 10U, but the transition to 12U has allowed her to expand her knowledge on pitches and locating her pitches as well.
"It's been fun seeing her develop these pitches because you continue to see her grow each game and each practice," Stacy said. "Our team moved up to level A this season, so she's facing the best pitchers and batters in the league."
Norah is embracing the change to level A because she said the competition is tough and it makes her work harder to perfect her craft as a pitcher.
Along with perfecting her craft, she's also trying new pitches to build her arsenal to finish the season strong for her teammates and coaches. Last season, she was able to rely on her fastball the majority of the time to strike out her opponents.
Now, she added two types of change ups with a circle and a flip to get batters off balance with each pitch. Norah is also working on a curveball and drop ball to make it five dangerous pitches to batters.
"The batters are getting better, so I needed to learn more pitches," Norah said. "A couple have been easier than the others to learn, but it's fun learning each pitch."
Norah is heading into eighth grade next fall and is excited to get to Woodbury High School in a couple of years. She wants to play on the softball team in high school and is excited to be apart of that atmosphere.
She's also excited to head to Oklahoma City and play in this tournament because it's going to prepare her for the future in high school with the best competition. Norah said she's played against a few of the players on her team for the tournament, but she looks forward to creating more friendships throughout the weekend.
This season, Norah has faced 406 batters and has pitched 94 innings. During that time, she gave up 64 hits, 27 walks and 66 runs as well as struck out 113 batters. The team is 24-9-3 this season and has placed second in three different tournaments.
She's the team's number one pitcher and will be the primary pitcher in the last couple of tournaments for the 12U team.
As for the Hall of Fame Tournament, it will start on Friday, June 29, as pool play begins with four teams in each pool and six different pools for a total of 24 teams. The teams will play two games within June 29 and 30 to determine the seeds for bracket play on Sunday, July 1.
There will be eight teams that receive a bye in the first round on Sunday and it will be single elimination, so win or go home. To make it to the championship game, a team will have to play four games (three if the team earns a bye) and win a fifth to win the tournament.
Therefore, each team will play at least three games and could potentially play seven games in the three days to become champion. Norah is excited about playing so many games because she loves the sport of softball.
"Ever since I started pitching, I loved it," Norah said. "It's so much fun to play with my team each day."