TWIN VALLEY, Minn. — Badger-Greenbush-Middle River's softball team beat Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal in the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 8 championship twice last Tuesday and Thursday.
A couple days later, Alivia Mortenson died after her car went off road and landed upside down in a slough near Hitterdal, Minn. She was 17 years old and played basketball, softball and volleyball for Norman County East-Ulen-HItterdal.
On Wednesday, before heading to the state tournament, the Badger-Greenbush-Middle River softball team stopped in Twin Valley to plant a tree in Mortenson's memory.
"I know for our team there was a lot of tears shed and I don't want to say it brought closure, it was just good to see the family," Badger-Greenbush-Middle River softball coach Kent Christian said. "At least for our girls, it was comforting knowing they knew we were thinking about them."
Mortenson's dad posted a thank you note on Facebook to the team. He was there to see the tree planted.
"The world should probably be like this more often," Christian said. "I consider the softball community pretty tight-knit group. Really it just shows, yeah, athletics is great and all that, but it really brings people closer together when you get beyond the competition."
Mortenson's dad, Ron, said the gesture touched his heart.
"Alivia touched everyone's heart and it shows," Ron told The Forum. "There really are no words. It's just amazing the thoughts and prayers that keep coming from everywhere."