For the Love of the Game: Iron Mountain’s Hakamaki returns to mound at Albion College

Iron Mountain pitcher Lara Hakamaki throws against Kingsford on May 23, 2016 in Kingsford, Mich. Hakamaki will pitch this season at Albion College. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News, File)

Lara Hakamaki likes softball.

Check that — loves softball.

The former Iron Mountain High School standout will be playing this spring for Albion College.

“It will be exciting to go back to the game l love,” Hakamaki said. “l feel that I can contribute to the Albion softball team and am looking forward to getting back on the mound.”

Hakamaki starred for the Mountaineers from 2014 to 2016, serving as their starting pitcher and catcher. She earned team co-MVP honors and Mid-Peninsula Conference first-team honors.

Hakamaki also played numerous years of travel softball for area teams. She has kept her softball skills sharp by practicing in the off-season and watching college softball.

Iron Mountain High School coach Dean Lefebvre describes Hakamaki as a very hard worker and solid player.”

“l’ve seen Lara get behind in the count or not get the calls she wants, turn to face center field, take a deep breath, purge the mechanism and get back to the battle,” Lefebvre said.

She is attending Albion under the Klungness Scholarship and majoring in business with a pre-law emphasis.

“Lara loves softball and is dedicated to the finer details of the sport,” said her parents, Gina and David Hakamaki. “Having coached her throughout her Little League and travel ball career, we have seen her grow as a technician. She is a smart player and has that deep intensity to not only win, but be the best she can be on and off the field. It will be fun to watch her at another level of the game and cheer her and the Britons on.”

Albion’s roster lists Hakamaki as a pitcher and catcher. She is one of the six pitchers on the roster.

The Britons, a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, start their season with spring ball in Naples and Fort Myers, Fla., at the beginning of March. Regular season schedule begins March 17 at home against Bluffton University.

Lara has three siblings: Henry, studying immunobiology in the masters program at Bonn University in Germany; Hannah, a junior studying pre-dentistry at Eastern Michigan University; and Ryan, a sophomore at Iron Mountain High School.