baseball’s favorite newspaper since 1987
The USSSA’s men (and woman) in red at the
On behalf of Minnesota’s USSSA and the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association, I
want to thank all players and fans for attending Brooklyn Center’s Dudley/Budweiser/Easton Major NIT. It is hard to believe
that this was the 26th year that the world’s best softball players have invaded
the Gopher State. I am fortunate enough to have been involved in all 26
tourneys in various capacities. I look forward to this event with great
anticipation each year, not only for the quality of softball that is displayed,
but also for the opportunity to renew old friendships. There are many memories
of past tourneys, but what I cherish most are the lasting relationships this
tourney has created with friends from all over the country.
For those of you who
are not familiar with our program, we are very proud of the fact that Minnesota ranked first nationally in team registrations during the
2007 campaign. We registered over 6,200 teams. We also led the country in
umpire registrations last year!
We sent over 150
teams to National and World tournaments last fall and we are very proud of the
fact that four teams captured World titles: Easton/Hooters/Rockets – Women’s
“C,” Showcase/J & H /Chanticlear/Combat – Men’s
“B,” Luther Auto/ 3M – Corporate and Korba Softball –
Men’s 55 + Over.
This past January, a
crowd of over 300 gathered at Brooklyn Center’s Crowne Plaza Minneapolis North
to honor our newest inductees into our State Hall of Fame – John Brodzinski, Pat Burns, Steve Cahill, Chris Duda, Jon Gurban, Steve Hackel, Bob Klick, Ed Korba, Dave Serie and Jerry Ujdur.
reveal that Minnesota’s USSSA will continue to grow and prosper in the new
millennium. Our No. 1 priority is to give you, the participant, a quality program that you can enjoy.
A warm Minnesota
thanks go to to USSSA’s
Executive Director & CEO Don DeDonatis
(Kissimmee, Fla.), Assistant Executive Director Dan Brown (Concord, Calif.),
Executive Vice President Kevin Naegele (Hobbs, N.M.)
and National Umpire in Chief Rick Robertson (Orlando, Fla.).
Once again, some of
the country’s finest called balls and strikes at last
weekend’s Dudley tournament. Here’s a look at these dedicated individuals
that contributed to another great Dudley Classic:
Jerry Marinelli – Jerry enjoys retirement from the Post Office after 36 years of
employment Jerry has retired from umpiring but continues to be our USSSA
Minnesota State Umpire in Chief the past four years. Jerry has also worked the
2000 and 2004 Men’s Major World Series in Florida. In 2002, he was
elected into the USSSA Minnesota Hall of Fame.
Jerry has two children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
His hobbies include golfing and being around softball.
Mike Fluegge – Mike is a
22-year retired U.S. Air Force Veteran and is currently an Independent
Insurance Agent/ Broker for Eagle
Insurance Center. He’s been a USSSA Official since 1999 and this was his
third Dudley Tournament. Mike is also the newly appointed Minnesota State
Deputy Umpire in Chief. In 2007, he umpired the Major World Series, the Men’s A
and B World Series and the Conference USSSA Championships in Florida along with many other World, National, Regional and State
Tournaments in his career. Mike has two sons and a daughter, Kevin (21),
Nicholas (19) and Skyler (9). He enjoys hunting,
fishing, riding his ’00 Road King Classic H-D and spending good quality time
with his parents, Ron and Mavis, and the rest of his family.
Bart Peck – Bart works for Pioneer Packaging and Printing in Anoka.
He’s been umpiring for 11 years and is this was first Dudley Tournament. During
this time, has umpired numerous Regional, NIT’s,
State and World Tournaments. Bart has been married for 22 years to his
wonderful wife Katie and they have two great kids, Alex (13) and Amanda (11).
In addition to umpiring softball, Bart is also a high school baseball and
basketball official. He spends much of his summer coaching his daughter
Amanda’s fast pitch team and is Alex’s No. 1 baseball and basketball fan! When
there is any spare time left over in his busy schedule, he enjoys golfing and
Rick Alexander – This was
Rick’s sixth consecutive year in the Dudley. He is umpiring his 23rd season as a USSSA
umpire and has umpired many National and World tournaments including the 2003
Men’s Master’s, 2004 “C” World and the 2006 “D” World. Rick is an Insurance
agent. He is married to his lovely wife, Breanna and
resides in Monticello, Minn.
Erick Norby – Erick is
an Assistant Principal at Cooper
High School in New
umpired since 1985 and for the past 12 years. He’s been the New Hope Umpire in
Chief. In 2001, Erick umpired the Men’s “B” World Series and Men’s “D” National
Tournament in the championship game. This was Erick’s eighth year umpiring the Dudley. He and his beautiful wife Kristen have two
wonderful children, Marissa (12) and Reese (8).
– Dan is employed by Allina Hospitals and Clinics as a Financial Analyst. He’s been a USSSA umpire
for 12 years, officiating numerous State, Regional and World Tournaments. This was Dan’s third Dudley Tournament. In
addition to umpiring softball, he referees hockey and enjoys coaching youth
baseball and hockey. Dan and his wife Trini live in New Brighton and have four children, Nicole (24), Megan (20), Derek (19)
and Joey (10).
Brian Carlson – Brian has worked for Wells Fargo for over 10 years. He has
been a high school basketball official for 11 years and baseball/softball for a
combined eight years. He has played in three World Tournaments and has played
competitive softball for 19 years. This
was Brian’s first Dudley.
Harlan Isom – Harlan
returned to the Gopher state from Southern California. He has worked for Unisys for 40 years in Logistics
Management. He will be spending three months in Minnesota this summer working other tournaments and enjoying the mosquitos. Harlan
has been umpiring USSSA since the early 1980s at all levels, including the 1998
Women’s World Series and the 2004 Men’s Major Worlds Series at Disney World.
This was Harlan’s fifth Dudley Tournament.
Mike Raymond – Mike is an Accounts Manager for K2
logistics in Eagan, Minn. He resides in Blaine
and will be getting married to his beautiful fiancée
Kim in the spring of 2009. Mike’s been playing competitive softball for many
years and is an avid hunter and golfer. He’s been umpiring for the past few
years, with this being his first year in the Dudley.
Ron Johnson –
Ron is a 38-year retired U.S. Army Veteran. He’s been an
umpire for 25 years and this was his fourth year in the Dudley.
Ron lives in Brooklyn
Center with his
wife Linda. He’s enjoying retirement life to the fullest.
Dave Robinson – Dave is a high school and college football and basketball
official. Dave played in the first seven Dudley’s. Dave worked in the 1997 Men’s Major World
Series in Daytona
Beach. This was
his 18th year umpiring in the Classic! Dave is also a
member of our USSSA Hall of Fame.
Al Edwards – Al has been married for seven years to his lovely wife
Wendy and has an 18-month old daughter named Kylee.
He has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for six years and has played
competitive softball for 21 years. Al
has played in seven World Tournaments and has umpired in several NIT and National
Tournaments. This was Al’s fourth Dudley.
Ken Girard – Ken works for Premier Contractors and has umpired for 19
years in Brooklyn
Center and is a
full time sports official for basketball, football and broomball. Ken and his
lady friend, Sandra, have been together for 17 years and they enjoy fishing and
hunting. This was Ken’s 12th Dudley.
Dana Erickson – This is Dana’s 23rd year as an umpire and
his 13th Dudley. He has been married to his bride, Leileni, for 24 years. He has worked numerous NIT’s and State Tournaments. Dana enjoys playing poker and
spending time with his wife. He also has works for Center Point for over 20
Tim Ives – This is Tim’s 19th year umpiring and 12th Dudley. In 2004, he also
worked the “C” Worlds at Disney World.
When he started umpiring, “I got to work with two of the best, Jim Wajda and Dave Purtle.” This is
his 35th year of playing, winning numerous weekend
tournaments and three state championships. Tim has been in the tree industry
for 31 years and now owns his own company called “Timber Tree Care.” Tim is
also owner of Under Foot Flooring. Though never married he is still hopeful but
admits. “It’s not easy finding a woman who will put up with someone who plays,
umpires and thinks softball 24/7.”
Gregory (Smitty) Smith
– Greg was born and raised in Tulsa,
Okla., by proud parents Sylvester “Buddy” and Alice Smith. Veteran umpires Kenny Glasbock
and Gary Jamison influenced Smitty to start umpiring
Youth ASA softball 28 years ago. He switched to USSSA in 1986, umpiring at many
levels and numerous venues in Minnesota. Although he moved back to Tulsa,
he continues to come back to umpire and spend time with his children Melissa
(Smith) Jorgensen, Joshua Smith, and his two grandchildren (Darien &
Angelina). He misses his friends and ball buddies in Minnesota and would like to give a special thanks to Jerry Marinelli, Gerry Turnberg and
Warren Bellm for allowing him to continue to come
back and be a part of his eighth Dudley.
Mike Ellenz – Mike is
the owner of Premier Construction Services and has umpired numerous NCAA
baseball and fastpitch National Championships. He has
also worked State, National and World Slow-Pitch events. This was Mike’s fourth Dudley.
Ardell Moeller – Ardell has been married to his lovely wife Jayne for nine
years. He has worked for Best Buy for 19 years. Ardell
has umpired in two World Series, one in Blaine,
Minn., and the other in Orlando,
Fla. He has umpired and played in many national and state tournaments.When he is not on the softball field, he is an
avid bowler and has thrown two 300 games. This was Ardell’s
Pete Strand III
– Pete has worked for Richfield
Bloomington Honda for seven years. He has umpired in two World Series, one in
Blaine, Minn., and the other in Orlando, Fla. Pete has been umpiring for 15
years and has played and umpired in many state and national tournaments, and is
still playing. Pete also enjoys bowling and mountain biking. This was Pete’s third Dudley.
Cathy Hoffman – Cathy has two sons, Dalton
(9) and Garret (7). She is a physical education teacher for the Anoka-
and has been teaching for 16 years. Cathy has played women’s and mixed softball
for over 31 years and has won many state titles and all-tournament honors. She has
umpired numerous Men’s and Women’s “B,” “C,” “D,” and “E” Minnesota National
and World Qualifiers. This was Cathy’s first Dudley Tournament and our first
female umpire working the Dudley.
Chuck (Doc) Beckwell
– Chuck comes from the Wolverine State. “Doc” works as a family and cosmetic orientated dentist in St Clair Shores, Mich. He started umpiring in 1977 and joined the USSSA in 1984 at
Liberty Park of America in Sterling Heights, Mich. He has umpired in world tourneys each year since then,
including the class A/AA and then the class A for the past seasons, getting his
first start in Raleigh, Va. Doc has worked world tournaments in each major
classification. He umpired a home run derby in Tiger Stadium in 2001 where Mike
Machenko became only the 19th player to ever clear
the roof in the stadium. Harmon Killebrew, the great Minnesota player is one of only four to clear the right field roof.
Chuck umpired the first ever USSSA Conference final at the plate in 2006 and
added the plate for the finals of the Class “A” and Major World Series that
year as well. In 2006 he attended the USSSA National Convention and was named
“Official of the Year.” Doc was inducted into the Michigan USSSA Hall of Fame
in 1996 and has called in seven Major World Series (1998, 2001-2007). This was Doc’s second Dudley Tournament.
Tony Walczak –
Tony currently lives in Macomb Twp, Mich.,
where he started his umpiring career in 1993 at Liberty Park of America. He’s umpired four Men’s Major and “A,” two
“B,” three “C” and “D,” and a Co-Ed World Series Tournaments. He’s also umpired
the first two Conference USSSA Championships along with numerous NIT’s, State and Regional Tournaments and this was his
second Dudley Tournament. Tony has been honored to receive the Michigan Umpire
in Chief award in 2005.
Duane (Drano) Posavetz
– Duane is originally from Michigan and now resides in Orlando,
Fla., where he’s a service consultant for a Chevrolet dealership.
Drano has been umpiring for over 25 years with many accolades to include USSSA
“Official of the Year” in 2007. He’s umpired all levels at the National and
World Series divisions, to include eight Major World Series appearances, with
the first in Fredrick, Md., in 1996. He and his beautiful wife Linda have two wonderful
kids, Jason (30) and Kelly (17). He enjoys bowling and playing golf with his
wife, Mr. Rick and the lovely Ms. Anna. This was his first Dudley
In addition to the
umpires who worked the trenches, I want you to know some of the other fine
individuals associated with the Dudley/Budweiser/Easton Classic:
Jim Glasoe, our host,
is the Director of Brooklyn Center’s Community Activities, Recreation and
Service Department. Jim enjoys golf and home improvement projects in his spare
time. Jim and his wife, Ann of 20 years reside in Champlin
with their two sons.
our host, is the Recreation Program Supervisor for the City of Brooklyn Center. Joe runs one of the state’s finest USSSA leagues. His
hobbies include softball, hunting and fishing. Joe and his wife, Theresa reside in Champlin.
Warren Bellm is the
choreographer for this tournament. As the Tournament Director, he ultimately
has the responsibility of coordinating the overall effort along with Joe. Warren
will have put in literally hundreds of hours before a champion is declared on
Sunday afternoon. He is responsible for making this the No. 1 NIT in the
country. Warren himself was a well-respected umpire for 16 years and is
currently a USSSA Area Director. He is also the Tournament Director for the
Men’s Major World Series and numerous Conference Tournaments. Warren
will be retiring as an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office of
Hennepin County. Warren and his wife, Sandy
have two children, and three grandchildren. Warren
is a member of our State Hall of Fame.
Joe Bruntmyer is
a tournament assistant. Joe is the Athletic Supervisor for the Vernon Hills
Illinois Park District. Joe, who was my assistant in 2000, comes back to his
old stomping grounds to assist each year.
Gregg Otten has been in
and around softball for over 30 years and is a member of our State Hall of
Fame. Gregg started OTTS Product Company specializing in softball bat
protection equipment. Gregg, his wife Patty and daughter Kelsey (17), live in Maple Grove.
Steve Cahill would normally be umpiring but a knee injury put him on the
staff. He and his wife Joanie have been married for
21 years and have a son Aaron. Steve is employed by Goodin,
a wholesale plumbing and heating company and also works for the city of Brooklyn Center. Steve was inducted into our State Hall of Fame last
When the voice of
softball, Ray Molphy, retired a few years ago, some
thought it would leave a void in the announcing department.But
the announcing has not missed a beat with the very capable Dave Trombley. When Ray had to catch a plane before the
start of the “98” championship game, Dave was called to duty and he’s been
behind the mic on the north field ever since. Dave,
who is 35 years old, lives in Brooklyn Park.
Steve Ericson was on the
mike on the south field last weekend. He is very well respected in the softball
world and is a member of our State Hall of Fame. Steve is employed by Independent School
279 and is the head girls’ fastpitch coach at Park
Center High. Steve and his family live in Otsego.
Maintenance Department is the best in the business. Once again the playing
conditions were second to none!
I have only
mentioned a handful of people associated with this tournament. Obviously it
takes a great deal more people than that to run a tournament of this magnitude.
I salute the many employees of the park maintenance, police, recreation,
volunteer fire departments and others who lend their time and talents to make
this the best Men’s Major National Invitational Tournament in the country.
Minnesota USSSA/MRPA Website
If I can be of any
assistance in any of your softball needs, please call me at 763.571.1305 x 108
or 1.800.862.3659 x108 or write me at:
MRPA 200 Charles Street NE Fridley MN 55432
Remember – it is
you, the player, coach, fan and umpire that make USSSA a GREAT organization and
the place to be!