Nearly 50 youth baseball and softball teams were hosted by the Twins during a recent home stand. They were honored for being "Real Winning" teams through Youth 1st of Owatonna.

Youth baseball and softball teams from more than 40 communities, including Owatonna and Medford, were among the clubs recognized for their good sportsmanship this summer.

View the videos produced by Youth 1st, including the one shown on the big screen during the pregame at Target Field on the nights the youth teams were in attendance.

 

 

Find some behind-the-scenes footage with this video.

 

 

 

 

Teams were named as "Real Winning" teams based on the sportsmanship they exhibited during various tournaments and league events. Umpires rated teams, coaches and their fans on their respect for the game, their opponents and officials. Youth 1st directors Mark Arjes and Mark Hendricks traveled to more than 40 communities to present the "Real Winning" team awards.

The youth players attended the Twins' game through the generosity of the Minnesota Twins Community Fund.

Youth 1st is a nonprofit organization founded and headquartered in Owatonna. Their mission is to connect conduct, character and community through values-based youth development. The goal of the Real Winning program is to establish an environment where the focus is on the kids. Coaches and parents are encouraged to keep their competitive energies in check and respect the officials.

Arjes says, "The most important thing that can come out of the youth baseball and softball experience is the life lessons, values and character that these young people develop through the process."

Youth 1st would like to thank the City of Owatonna Parks and Recreation Department, the Huskies Bullpen Club, the Owatonna Youth Fastpitch Softball Association and the Medford Diamond Association for implementing the Real Winning program. The Minnesota Sports Federation and Farmington Fastpitch Association also worked with Youth 1st this year.

The Walser Automotive Group and the Walser Foundation sponsored the Real Winning program.

Arjes says, "Thanks Minnesota for putting your Youth 1st." Visit the Youth 1st facebook page for more pictures and details on the program.