St. Paul Lutheran softball tourney has a long history of school pride
By Josh Staloch
LUXEMBURG – Twenty-seven years ago, Kewaunee County’s Bob and LInda Dahlke organized a springtime softball tournament for the students at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Luxemburg as a way for the kids there to have some early-season fun on the diamond and to help raise a little money for St. Paul’s.
Today, nearly three decades and a handful of changes later, the tournament is still going strong, with the most recent installment featuring seven area teams taking place earlier this month.
There are members of the 1996 team who have little ones playing now so the event has really come full circle, according to St. Paul Athletic Director Steve Doell.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” Doell said. “It’s for the kids and everyone involved wants to give them the opportunity to play. I would say the parents are more aware of the history behind the tournament, a lot of our congregation members took part in past tournaments.”
Over the years, the tournament has maintained its fun factor but, as Doell explained, it now means far more to the St. Paul community than just a weekend’s worth of roundball.
The tournament is now the biggest yearly fundraiser for St. Paul’s athletic program, which is self funded, meaning congregation members are not asked to chip in to make sports at the 4k-eighth grade school happen at St. Paul’s as part of the Lakeshore Lutheran League.
The school now offers girls volleyball, cross country, boys and girls basketball
“The tournament has tremendous benefits,” Doell said. “Having these programs has actually kept kids at our school. With smaller numbers, our students get to play and they have a lot of fun. I’ve also seen a tremendous amount of school pride from the kids as well as our congregation members. It’s so important for us to be able to offer these programs to the students. Without them, they might choose to go elsewhere.”
St. Paul, which won the first two tournaments in 1996 and 1997, did very well at this year’s event.
The seventh and eighth grade team won first place while the fifth and sixth grade squad took home third.
Other schools in this year’s tournament were Trinity Lutheran of Brillion, St. John/St. James from Reedsville, Zion Lutheran of Wayside, St. Peter Lutheran of Sturgeon Bay, St. Paul Lutheran in Algoma and Zion Lutheran of Egg Harbor.
The co-ed tournament used to be an intermediate event that brought in large schools as well as small but is now slow pitch and played between smaller schools, which Doell said has made it more of a competitive event.
New to the tournament this year is roster batting, which requires both teams to give all of their players a chance to hit.
Those tweaks aside, the event has found its groove in the community and organizers, from the Dahlkes to all of the event coordinators year to year — all of whom deserve a special thank you according to Doell- are looking forward to many more years of the Annual St. Paul Lutheran School Luxemburg Co-Ed Slow Pitch Tournament.
“I see very few changes for the tournament in the future because it’s so successful,” Doell said. “The kids have fun, the parents have fun and it’s very well attended. The only thing we need is good weather, that’s really all we can ask for.”