HERON LAKE — A typical day for Lucas Knutson starts and ends at the baseball diamond.
There’s T-Ball practice in the morning, teenagers practice in the afternoon, then a townball game in the evening.
It’s summertime and the living is easy, you might say. But for Lucas and the Knutson family of Heron Lake, baseball is indeed life at this time of year.
“One of my lifelong goals is to keep baseball going in Heron Lake as long as we can,” he says.
The Knutson family is well-known for its love of all sports. Baseball is truly a family affair.
“Baseball is kind of what my brothers and me live for in the summer months,” says Lucas, 34.
His brothers are Lance, 41, Logan, 39, and Logan, 22. The latter is one of the top pitchers on the current Heron Lake Lakers amateur baseball club.
Lance lives in Worthington and though pretty much retired as a player. he still makes all the Laker games to keep the scorebook.
Logan has been the Lakers’ manager for two decades, while Lucas helps coach the team and is still an active player.
The boys’ father, legendary prep basketball coach Les Knutson, helps with the ticket-taking for Laker games. His wife, Cheryl, runs the concession stand most of the time.
“We all love it,” Lucas says. “It means a lot to all of us.”
Lucas, a high school teacher in Fulda, is the head coach of the Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda team. He runs Fulda’s summer rec program, during which he teaches baseball fundamentals to young ball players — boys and girls both — from ages 5 to 18.
This weekend the Knutson clan’s commitment to its native Heron Lake is on display as the community marks Blue Heron Days, a new civic celebration. Chad is organizing a Lakers Alumni Game scheduled for today, while Lucas is also running a Kids Olympic event today.
Then, on Sunday, the Lakers take on the Milroy Irish in a First Nite League contest.
Lucas lives in Fulda.
“But I spend a lot of time in Heron Lake,” he says.
Why the affection for southwest Minnesota?
“I grew up playing sports in a small town and it’s always been important for me to be a part of that,” Lucas says. “We’ve got a lot of kids involved, and that’s great.”
Last week, for example, Heron Lake and Fulda went at it in four youth baseball games, from T-Ball up through teenagers.
“We had a big crowd of people,” Lucas says. “That was a lot of fun to see. It was small-town Little League baseball at its finest.”
Clearly, the Knutson family is dedicated to athletics and the youth of the Heron Lake and Fulda communities. Much of that is due to Les, the patriarch who also writes an interesting and anecdote-filled column that appears in several newspapers across the region. Les has also contributed mightily to The Globe sports coverage in the past.
“My dad has been a great influence to us,” Logan says. “He’s always led us in the right direction as far as giving back to the community and being a positive influence and role model for kids.
“That’s really what me and my brothers try to do.”
Scott Mansch is a part-time sports writer at The Globe and can be reached at email@example.com. Contact him with story ideas.