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MHA Nation Tribal Members Part of Elite Team Claiming Native World Series Championship

By Logan J. Davis

The Plains Women are one of the top women’s softball teams in the United States and they proved that displaying their skills and teamwork at the Native American World Series tournament last weekend in Rapid City. The team represented MHA Nation in a big way with four of the team members being enrolled MHA Nation tribal members. Nicole Wells, Shanaye Packineau, Maurisa Wells and Wendi Wells helped the Plainswomen to the championship in a game that saw them go up against the team that defeated them in last year’s title game. 

“Coming back this year to beat the team that got by us last year in a close game in the championship was pretty sweet,” said team member Wendi Wells. “It wasn’t an easy tournament to win because all the teams brought their best from their state or region and I’m very proud of every player on our team.”

Wells noted that the competition was tough every game and it took the entire team to win and each game had their moments of heroics and outstanding plays and hitting. Packineau and the Wells sisters have been playing together on the Plains Women for enough games to know each other well and they know how to prepare for each game and tournament they play. 

The Plains Women’s closest game was in the semifinals against a team from the Southwest where the Plains Women got a real battle before winning by one run. The four members of the MHA Nation were inspired to play softball four years ago after being strong competitors in basketball and grown to love the sport of softball just as much as they love basketball. 

“We have developed a sisterhood as a team and we stay positive and keep up each other’s confidence. That is part of our winning strategy,” said Wells. “Defense is how you win and also good base hitting. Our outfield and infield are both so tough and they know how to play every hitter it seems. We don’t go for the fence but we hit a lot of extra base hits past the opposition’s outfielders.” 

 The Plains Women went undefeated through the tournament and when they met up with their nemesis, the Lady All-Stars of South Dakota, they knew they had a real challenge to claim the title. But thanks to that great defense and teamwork, the Plainswomen won the game by a fairly wide margin. In winning the championship, the Plains Women all won championship jackets, World Series rings, softball bats, and a huge championship banner to take home. 

“We appreciate all those that supported us, especially our sponsor for this tourney, who was Randy White Owl,” Wells added. “We also earned a free entry to the United Tribes Softball Tourney, and entry to the Salt Lake City World Series in Utah. We also want to thank our Councilmen Fred Fox and Mervin Packineau for always standing behind us and supporting our team. Thank God for being able to play the game we love and be successful.”

Other team members of the Plains Women besides Packineau and the Wells sisters are Alexis Archambault, Julissa Max, Meghan King, Nicole Brown, Troyleah Langerud, Des Smith, Shannon Gunville, Kim Claymore and Melissa Wilson. 

The MHA Nation men’s team was also a competing team in the Native American World Series and they also did very well, placing in the top tier of the final teams vying for places and prizes. Mel Four Bear, Morgan Smith, Jaren Enockson, Tony Ross and Hunter LaFromboise were two of the MHA Nation men on that team. MHA Nation lost to the eventual champions, The Alpha in an earlier game and then were edged out by another team to keep them from getting to the placing round. The MHA Nation men went 3-2 for the tournament. 

There was also an All-Star Game this year at the Native American World Series that pitted the Midwest players against the Southern players on Friday night. Wendi, Maurisa and Nicole Wells were selected to play in that game of elite women players and it was an exciting game with the Midwest losing by one run on the last play. The All-Star game was dedicated to the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women cause and the proceeds raised went to that charity. 

In the men’s division, the champions were The Alphas from Rapid City and the Co-Ed Champions were the Brown Baggers from the White Earth Chippewa Nation. 

TJ McCauley was the tournament manager 

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