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The men (and woman) in red at the Dudley

  

By Gerry Turnberg

USSSA State Director

Central Divisional Vice President

 

 On behalf of Minnesota’s USSSA and the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association, I want to welcome all players and fans to Brooklyn Center’s Dudley/Budweiser/Easton Major NIT. It is hard to believe that this is the 27th year that the world’s best softball players have invaded the Gopher State. I am fortunate enough to have been involved in all 27 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 2008 campaign. We registered over 6,300 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 two teams captured World titles: Korba Softball, Men’s 55 + Over, and J & H Wall/Chanticlear Pizza, Men’s “C.”

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 – Ray Brown, Joe Ericksen, Babe Glumack, Scott Holt, Don Klatt, Dan Krtnick, Jack O’Connor, Don Phenow, Paula Price, Sara Reiser and Shari Strommer.

All indications reveal that Minnesota’s USSSA will continue to grow and prosper in the years to come. Our No. 1 priority is to give you, the participant, a quality program that you can enjoy.

Once again, some of the country’s finest will be calling balls and strikes at this Dudley tournament.  Now, let’s meet these dedicated individuals.

 

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 five years. Jerry umpired 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 is his fourth Dudley Tournament. Mike is also the 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 (22), Nicholas (20) and Skyler (10). 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.  

 

Dave Robinson – Dave is a high school and college football and basketball official. He played in the first seven Dudleys. Dave worked in the 1997 Men’s Major World Series in Daytona Beach. This is his 19th year umpiring in the Classic! Dave is also a member of our USSSA Minnesota Hall of Fame.

 

Dana Erickson – This is Dana’s 24th year as an umpire and his 14th Dudley. He has been married to his bride, Leileni, for 25 years. He has worked numerous NIT’s and State Tournaments. Dana enjoys playing poker and spending time with his wife. He also has worked for Center Point for over 20 years.

 

Ken Girard – Ken has umpired for  20 years in Brooklyn Center.  He is a full time sports official for basketball, football and broomball. Ken enjoys fishing and hunting. This is Ken’s 13th Dudley Tournament.

 

Marty Hanft – Marty has umpired since 1968. He umpired the AAA/Masters World, two B World’s, C World’s and several Nationals. Marty is the UIC for White Bear Lake, assistant UIC for Mr. M and is involved in developing youth umpires. He is married to a very tolerant wife (Denise) and has 3 children and 2 grandchildren.  This is Marty’s 12th Dudley.

 

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 softball 29 years ago. He started calling USSSA in 1986, umpiring at many levels and numerous venues in Minnesota. Smitty has two children, Melissa and Joshua , and has two grandchildren, Darien and  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 apart of his ninth Dudley Tournament.

 

Erick Norby – Erick is an Assistant Principal at Plymouth Middle School in Plymouth. He’s umpired since 1985 and for the past 13 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 is Erick’s ninth year umpiring the Dudley.  He and his beautiful wife Kristen have two wonderful children, Marissa (13) and Reese (9). 

 

Rick Alexander – This is  Rick’s seventh consecutive year in the Dudley. This is his 24th season as a USSSA umpire. Rick has umpired many National and World tournaments including the 2003 Men’s Master’s, 2004 “C” World and the 2006 “D” World tournaments. Rick is an Insurance agent with Prudential Insurance. He is married to his lovely wife, Breanna and resides in Monticello, Minn.

 

Harlan Isom – Harlan returns to the Gopher state from San Diego California each summer. He has worked for Unisys for over 41 years in Logistics Management. Harlan and his lovely wife Marna split their time each year between their homes in San Diego and Blaine and also at their son’s condo in Palm Springs. He also enjoys going to Wisconsin to work on his farm.  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 World Series at Disney World. This is Harlan’s sixth Dudley Tournament.

 

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 is Mike’s fifth Dudley Tournament.

 

Al Edwards – Al and his wife Wendy have been married for eight years. They have two daughters, Kylee 2 ½ yrs. old and Allie 2 months old. He has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for seven years and has played competitive softball for 22 years. Al has played in eight World Tournaments and has umpired in several NIT and National Tournaments. This is Al’s  fifth  Dudley Tournament. 

 

Dan Marcouiller – Dan works for Allina Hospitals and Clinics as a Sr. Buyer. He’s been a USSSA umpire for 13 years, officiating numerous State, Regional and World Tournaments.  This is Dan’s fourth 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 (25), Megan (21), Derek (20) and Joey (11). 

 

Pete Strand III – Pete has worked for RB Honda for eight 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 golfing, bowling and mountain biking.  This is Pete’s fourth Dudley.

 

Ardell Moeller – Ardell has been married to his lovely wife Jayne for 10 years. He has worked for Best Buy for 20 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 is Ardell’s third Dudley.

 

Lee Sadowski – Has lived in Fridley, Minn., for the past 34 years. He’s been self employed for 26 years in the legal field and has a passion for playing over 35 years with many State and National Titles.  Along with umpiring the game of softball, he enjoys his ‘69 Corvette, ‘98 Harley Fat Boy.  Single and loving it, but does share his house with a little 12 week old and very attention demanding cocker spaniel “Jobe “.  After 20+ years of calling the game including many State and National tournaments, this will be his second Dudley Tournament.

 

Bart Peck – Bart has been umpiring for 12 years and this is his second Dudley Tournament. During this time he has umpired numerous Regional, NIT’s, State and World Tournaments. Bart has been married for 23 years to his wonderful wife Katie and they have two great kids, Alex (14) and Amanda (12). 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 fishing.

 

Cathy Hoffman – Cathy has two sons, Dalton (10) and Garret (8) and resides in Anoka. She is a substitute physical education teacher for the Anoka- Hennepin School District and has been teaching for 17 years. Cathy also works for USSSA Minnesota Softball as my Assistant. Cathy has played women’s and mixed softball for over 32 years. In 2008, Cathy umpired the Men’s D and Women’s B and D World Series in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. She was chosen to umpire the Women’s B championship game.  This is Cathy’s second Dudley and our first female umpire working the Dudley Tournament.

 

Jason Halverson Jason is the proud father of two boys, Sam (6) and Max (3), and has been married to his lovely wife Missy for eight years. He works as an Account Manager for Johnson Paper & Supply Company. Along with being an umpire, Jason is a basketball official and continues to play the game of softball. His many years on the softball field have led him to wearing “red” and he’s excited to be working his very first Dudley Tournament.

 

Reggie Jarrett – Reggie was born and raised in the windy city. He has four children, Eddie (27) Reggie Jr. (24), Regina (23) and Lance (17), and six grandchildren. Reggie has worked for the Minneapolis Park Board for the last 20 years. His hobbies include bowling, golfing, riding motorcycle and playing competitive softball for the last 15 years.  Reggie has umpired numerous men’s and women’s B, C, D and E National and World qualifiers. In 2008, He umpired the Men’s D and Women’s B and D World Series in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This is Reggie’s first Dudley Tournament.

 

Mike Kloos – Mike works full-time for a software company in Minnetonka; part-time as a tax preparer for H&R Block for the past 18 years; and has umpired the game of softball for 28 years.  He’s also the former President of the White Bear Lake Umpires Association.  Mike has four children, two boys and two girls, and has coached them in their baseball and fast pitch softball programs. He is an avid handball player and plays softball when time permits.  This will be Mike’s first Dudley appearance.

 

Kevin Peterson – Kevin has worked 23 years in the automotive field as a GM Technician. He has been an umpire for 17 years and has umpired in Nationals, NIT’s, and State Tournaments. When not umpiring, Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife Paige and his twin boys Nick and Nate. This is Kevin’s first Dudley Tournament.

 

Jeff Sellnow – Jeff works as an inventory control specialist at Versa Cold Storage. He has been a high school basketball official for 11 years and softball for 12 years. He has done numerous qualifiers around the state. Jeff has a wife named Annette and a daughter who finished her second year at River Falls, Wis.  Jeff loves to be outside and looking forward to his first Dudley.

 

Chuck (Doc) Beckwell – Chuck comes from the Wolverine State. “Doc” works as a family and cosmetic dentist in both Shelby Township and St Clair Shores, Mich. Chuck, Beth and four kids, Charles III (who began umpiring for USSSA this past year), Erin, Robert and Allyson, reside in Shelby Twp as well. 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 since beginning in 1984. He umpired a home run derby in Tiger Stadium in 2001 where Mike Macenko became only the 19th player to ever clear the roof in the stadium with a home run ball. Harmon Killebrew, the great Minnesota player is one of only four to clear the right field roof. Doc 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 USSSA “Official of the Year.” Doc was inducted into the Michigan USSSA Hall of Fame in 1996, was nominated for the USSSA National Hall of Fame and has called in eight Major World Series (1998, 2001-2008).  This will be Doc’s third Dudley Tournament.

 

Tony (The Rook) Walczak – Tony currently lives in Macomb Twp, Mich., where he is a Supervisor in Shipping and Receiving. He joined USSSA in 1993 at Liberty Park of America in Sterling Heights, Mich. Tony has umpired five Men’s Major World Series (2004-08) and two Mixed World Series Tournaments (2006 and 2008).  He has also umpired three Conference USSSA Championships (2006-08), numerous NIT’s, State and Regional Tournaments. Tony has done several World Tournaments including five “A”, two “B”, three “C” and “D”.  He has been honored to receive the Michigan Umpire in Chief award in 2005.  This is Tony’s third Dudley.

 

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 26 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 won-derful kids, Jason (31) and Kelly (18). He enjoys bowling and playing golf with his wife, Mr. Rick and the lovely Ms. Anna. This is Drano’s second Dudley. 

 

Bob Smith – Bob hails from the great state of Texas but is currently residing in Owasso, Oklahoma. He is currently in his 15th year as a USSSA Umpire. Over the last 14 years he has had the privilege of working the Men’s Major World Series five times, the Men’s AA World Series twice and the Men’s A World Series seven times. He has also worked the Men’s B, C and D and Mixed A, B, C and D world tournaments. In 1999 Bob was awarded the North Texas USSSA Umpire of the Year award then in 2001 the USSSA Midwest Division Umpire of the Year award and then in 2008 the Oklahoma USSSA Umpire of the Year award. Bob was inducted into the Texas USSSA Hall of Fame in 2007. This will be his third trip to the Dudley; he was here for the 2000 and 2001 tournaments.

 

In addition to the umpires who will be working 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 of 20 years, Ann, reside in Champlin with their two sons.

 

Joe Ericksen, 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 retired as an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office of Hennepin County last summer.  Warren and his wife, Sandy, have two children and four 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 40 years and is a member of our State Hall of Fame. Gregg started OTTS Product Company specializing in softball bat protection equipment and Hockey Training Equipment. Gregg, his wife, Patty, and daughter, Kelsey (18), live in Maple Grove. 

 

Steve Cahill would normally be umpiring this weekend but a knee injury has put him on the shelf. He and his wife Joanie have been married for 22 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 is a member of our State Hall of Fame.

 

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 mike on the north field ever since. Dave, who is 36 years old, lives in Brooklyn Park.

 

Steve Ericson will be on the mike on the south field this 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 District 279 and is the head girls’ fast pitch coach at Park Center High. Steve and his family live in Otsego.

 

Brooklyn Center’s Park Maintenance Department is the best in the business. Once again the playing conditions will be 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, and 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: www.mnusssa.com

National USSSA Website Access: Visit the USSSA website at www.usssa.com

 

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!