Softball and baseball’s favorite newspaper since 1987


Combat’s Scott Brown on the Dudley

   

By Scott Brown

 

Greetings softball fans and players, Scott Brown coming to you from Combat Sports. The Dudley is finally here and in its 26th year, yet it is as anticipated as its first year and continues to bring such excitement to the state of Minnesota and Minnesota USSSA every year. 

The Dudley means a lot to everyone that participates, watches and works the tournament and there is only one other tournament in the country that holds this much clout (Smokies). I personally have been going to the Dudley ever since I was a young kid. I remember all the softball legends that have played in this Classic and over the years I have been fortunate enough to play with many of the best in the game.

When I first started playing slowpitch softball, all I wanted to do was to play in the Dudley Classic and my team worked hard each year to try and win State. The Dudley was where everyone was and where we watched the best of the best battle for the crown of the Dudley Classic.

These guys were legends and I had never seen anything like it – 25,000 people would come out and watch softball over the course of three days and it was amazing to see. I knew I wanted to be there playing and that if I worked hard enough I could be there. 

My dream came true in 1997 when I was playing with Line Drive. We were a young “A” team, built with Minnesota players only and we all came from either “B” or “C” teams the year before. We had the best young talent in the state. 

We had to play in the Dudley Qualifier to earn one of the spots in the Dudley Classic. This was pure as we had to earn our way into this tournament. We won that qualifier so we had the first pick of times and we were able to pick our opponent as well.

We were young and a little bit cocky but we never backed down from anyone, so we chose the 8:30 p.m., game on Central North (the show field) against Herbs/TPS, a Major team out of Southern California. They had a few guys from Minnesota on their team and a lot of people thought we were crazy for picking a Major team but we wanted the show field, at the best time and against one of the best teams. 

That was the biggest crowd I had ever seen around one field at the Dudley. We went on to win that game in the seventh inning, 50-49. This was what it was all about, David vs. Goliath, local team beats Major team.

You might be saying “You were an ‘A’ team, that is not that hard to do,” but back then there were 8-10 Major teams, about 20 “AA” teams and about 60 “A” teams, which would be equivalent to a B/C team beating a Major team now. 

Eleven years later, I have been fortunate enough to play in every Dudley tournament since then and have had many great memories of the Dudley over the years. Each year I spend Father’s Day playing ball and having my Dad at my side watching me play. My goal has been to give him a Father’s Day gift of a championship. I have been able to achieve this goal five times with some great teams. (This year the Dudley is a week after Father’s Day, so Dad, you will have to wait for your gift this year).

 In 1999, I was playing with Hendu’s/Long Haul and we were the first “AA” team to win the Dudley which has not been accomplished since. In 2002, we won it with Dan Smith/Menosse/Backman, the start of a historic run, winning again in 2003 and 2004 (back to back to back). In 2005, a core group of guys went over to Bellcorp and we won it again!

I hope I have luck on my side again this year as I am now back playing with Dan Smith/Team Combat. Every young softball player from Minnesota should be out there watching these tremendous athletes as you can learn a lot from watching the best of the best.

The Dudley is also the tournament where all the new products are usually introduced by bat manufacturers. Combat has had some great successes this past year and there is a lot of buzz surrounding our new lineup with some really exciting bats that you should check out. To name a few, we have the Gear Virus, the Bryson Baker Gear Virus (Signature Series), the Johnny McCraw Virus Plague (Signature Series) and my personal favorite, the Scott Brown Gear Virus (Signature Series). These bats will be available at a retailer near you soon and the Scott Brown Gear Virus is available exclusively at The Sports Authority. Come check us out at the Dudley and see our COMBATS in action.

I hope to see you all at the Dudley this year as we always have a great time at the park. I am sure you will enjoy watching us as we have a few Minnesota ties on the team this year: Scott Brown (Andover), pitcher Dan Yochum (Blaine) and coach Gary Jost (Oakdale ). 

I would like to thank all of our Sponsors from this year’s team: Dan Smith, Ed Menosse, Paul Dressler, Don Cooper, Mel Hare, Bradley Camp, Combat Sports

Until next time, have a beer in the beer garden, get in the bleachers, yell and scream, and see the best slowpitch teams and players compete in the 26th Annual Dudley Classic.