MARQUETTE - At the end of the 2012 season, Escanaba High School varsity girls softball coach John LaMarch thought it would be nice to have an all-star game involving Upper Peninsula players.
"He brought the idea to me and we just got the ball rolling," Marquette Senior High School head coach Paul Seibert said.
The result? The inaugural U.P. All-Star Softball Games will be held today at Hurley Field in Marquette.
A skills competition, including throwing and base running, will be held, as will a Home Run Derby contest, beginning at 4:15 p.m.
A North vs. South game is set for 6 p.m., with a second contest to follow. All players are graduating seniors and will wear their regular school team jerseys.
"We wanted to make sure the girls would get enough playing time," Seibert said about the second contest. "If they travel here from three hours away, it might not be worth their time (otherwise).
The compete rosters:
Ashley Anderson, Negaunee; Angela Brown, Karlee Huuki, Courtney LaFreniere and Morgan Seibert, Marquette; Morgan Buckingham, Newberry; Kylee Fitzpatrick, Marissa Gonyeau and Megan Jean, Sault Ste. Marie; Kassi Houtari, Danielle McCullough and Tiah Pusakulich, Ironwood; Jill Keskimaki, Houghton; Caitlin Korvela, Ishpeming; Shelbie Williams, Brimley; and Megan McLaren, Munising.
Coaches: Paul Seibert, Marquette; Linda Bouvet, Sault Ste. Marie; and John Anderson, Negaunee.
Dominique Tremblay, Kayla Coffey and Ashlee Bonnee, Rudyard; Codi Jenshak, Braedyn Bosilovatz and Emily Bogaudo, Escanaba; Grace Zimmerman and Jordan Kowalski, Gladstone; Averi Kanyuh and Neenah Brockway, Rapid River; Bailey Grayvold, Norway; and Lindsey Richmond, Superior Central.
Coaches: Martha Verbrigghe, Superior Central; George Kanyuh, Rapid River; John LaMarch, Escanaba.
"I figure we'll give all of them at least six innings of work."
U.P. coaches were asked to submit player nominations for the games.
"I asked coaches who played against these players for some input. I made the final (roster) decisions," Seibert said.
"M-28 was the approximate dividing line, though we made some adjustments for the teams. I tried to take at least one girl from every school.
"The girls don't get a lot of recognition up here and it'll be a nice way to end their careers," added Seibert, who's 55-45 in three years at the MSHS helm.
"It'll be a fun thing and also give the girls a pat on the back."
There will be no admission charge and concessions will be available.
Seibert said there's no makeup date in case of rain.
"We're just keeping our fingers crossed," he said.