Softball and baseball’s favorite newspaper since 1987


Welcome to the Dudley

  

By Gerry Turnberg

USSSA State Director

Central Division 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 28th year that the world’s best softball players have invaded the Gopher State.

I am fortunate enough to have been involved in all 28 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 2009 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 proud of the fact that two teams captured World titles, Easton/Hooters/Rockets (Women’s “B”) and Showcase/All American Restoration/CR’s (Mixed “C”).

This past January, a crowd of over 300 gathered at Brooklyn Center’s Embassy Suites, Minneapolis to honor our newest inductees into our State Hall of Fame – Greg Brown, Barb Drake Lindgren, Kurt Hornnes, John Keprios, Jeff Kurkowski, Mike Pendzimas, Jim Sweat, Jeff Thompson and Mike Trewick.

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.

Let’s give a warm Minnesota welcome to Rick Robertson, USSSA’s National Umpire in Chief (Kissimmee, Fla.), who will be assisting us here this weekend.

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 six 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. In 2009, Jerry received the USSSA National Spark Plug of the Year Award. Jerry is married and 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 fifth 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 (23), Nicholas (21) and Skyler (11). He enjoys hunting, fishing, riding his Harley Davidson Road King Classic 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 20th year umpiring in the Classic! Dave is also a member of our Minnesota USSSA Hall of Fame.

 

Dana Erickson – This is Dana’s 25th year as an umpire and his 15th Dudley. He has been married to his bride, Leileni, for 26 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 21 years.

 

Erick Norby – Erick is an Assistant Principal at Plymouth Middle School in Plymouth. He’s umpired since 1985 and for the past 14 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 10th year umpiring the Dudley. He and his beautiful wife, Kristen, have two wonderful children, Marissa (14) and Reese (10). 

 

Rick Alexander – This is Rick’s eighth consecutive year in the Dudley. This is his 25th 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. Rick is an Insurance agent with Prudential Insurance. He is married to his lovely wife, Breanna, and resides in Monticello, Minn.

 

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 USSSA Slow-Pitch events. This is Mike’s sixth Dudley Tournament.

 

Dan Marcouiller – Dan works for Allina Hospitals and Clinics as a Senior Buyer. He’s been a USSSA umpire for 14 years, officiating numerous State, Regional and World Tournaments. This is Dan’s fifth 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 (26), Megan (22), Derek (21) and Joey (12). 

 

Pete Strand III – Pete has worked for RB Honda for nine years. He has umpired in two World Series, one in Blaine, Minn., and the other in Orlando, Fla. Pete has been umpiring for 16 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 fifth Dudley.

 

Ardell MoellerArdell has been married to his lovely wife Jayne for 11 years. He has worked for Best Buy for 21 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 fourth Dudley.

 

Bart Peck – Bart has been umpiring for 15 years and this is his third Dudley Tournament. During this time, he has umpired numerous Regional, NIT’s, State and World Tournaments. Bart has been married for 24 years to his wonderful wife, Katie, and they have two great kids, Alex (15) and Amanda (13). In addition to umpiring softball, Bart is also a high school baseball and basketball official. He spends much of his summer watching his daughter Amanda’s fastpitch team and is Alex’s No. 1 baseball and basketball fan! 

 

Cathy Hoffman – Cathy has two sons, Dalton (11) and Garret (9), and resides in Anoka. She is a teacher and has been teaching for 18 years. Cathy also works for USSSA Minnesota Softball as my Assistant. Cathy has played women’s and mixed softball for over 33 years. In 2008, Cathy umpired the Men’s D and Women’s B and D World Series in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. She was chosen to umpire the Women’s B championship game. In 2009, Cathy umpired the Men’s B and C World Tournament in Florida. This is Cathy’s third Dudley and our first female umpire working the Dudley Tournament. 

 

Reggie Jarrett – Reggie was born and raised in the Windy City. He has four children, Eddie (30), Reggie Jr. (26), Regina (25) and Lance (18), and eight grandchildren. Reggie has worked for the Minneapolis Park Board for the last 21 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. The past two years he umpired the Men’s B, C, D and Women’s B, C, and D World Series in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This is Reggie’s second 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 19 years; and has umpired the game of softball for 29 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 fastpitch softball programs. He is an avid handball player and plays softball when time permits. This will be Mike’s second 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 National, 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 second Dudley Tournament.

 

Earl Thompson – Earl has been married for 24 years to his wife Debbie. They have three children, two boys and a girl. Earl has been umpiring for 18 years. He has umpired B, C, D NIT, World Qualifiers and numerous state tournaments. Earl has coached many different levels from high school, college, semi-pros and arena football. This is Earl’s first Dudley Tournament.

 

Steve Thornton – Steve is an eight-year Marine Corps Veteran. He has umpired at all levels from football, basketball, baseball and softball. Steve has five children, two boys and three girls, Jacboy (30), Mikaela (22), Imani (21), Shayania (13) and Steven (6). Steve enjoys fishing, camping and spending quality time with his children. This is Steve’s first Dudley Tournament.

 

Ray Peterson – Ray has been married for 33 years to his wife, Katherin. He has three children and two grandchildren. Ray has worked for Trio Supply for 15 years. He has been a USSSA umpire for 19 years. In 2001, he umpired the World Series in Blaine. He is a high school and college baseball and basketball official. This is Ray’s first Dudley Tournament.

 

Mark Dallenbach – Mark has worked for HD Supply for two years. He has been umpiring for eight years and umpired the last two D Nationals in St.Louis and Sioux City, Iowa. Mark has been married for 10 years to his wife, Tonya. They have a son, Devon (2) old and a daughter, Taylor (10 weeks). This is Mark’s first Dudley Tournament

 

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 Township 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 “Officials 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 umpired in nine Major World Series (1998, 2001-2009). This will be Doc’s fourth Dudley Tournament.

 

Tony (the Rook) Walczak – Tony currently lives in Macomb Township, Mich., where he is a Supervisor in Shipping and Receiving. He joined USSSA in 1993 at the Liberty Park of American in Sterling Heights, Mich. Tony has umpired six Men’s Major World Series (2004-09) and three Mixed World Series Tournaments (2006 and 2008, 2009). He has also umpired four Conference USSSA Championships (2006-09), and numerous NIT’s, State and Regional Tournaments. Tony has done several World Tournaments, including five “A”, two “B”, and three “C” and “D”. He has been honored to receive the Michigan Umpire in Chief award in 2005. This is Tony’s fourth 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 27 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 nine Major World Series appearances, with the first in Fredrick, Md., in 1996. He and his beautiful wife Linda have two wonderful kids, Jason (32) and Kelly (19). He enjoys bowling and playing golf with his wife, Mr. Rick and the lovely Ms. Anna. This is Drano’s third Dudley. 

 

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, Ann of 21 years 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. He is a member of our state Hall of Fame.

 

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. This spring he started working for the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in guest services. 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 40 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 (19) live in Maple Grove. 

 

Steve Cahill would normally be umpiring this weekend but a knee injury has put him on the staff. Steve’s son Aaron and his wife Sara have a son, Logan, who Grandpa is very proud of! 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 1998 championship game, Dave was called to duty and he’s been behind the mic on the north field ever since. Dave, who is 37 years old, lives in Brooklyn Park.

 

Steve Ericson will be on the mic 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’ fastpitch coach at Park Center High. Steve and his family live in Otsego. Steve guided the Park Center Pirates fastpitch team to the MSHSL State Championship last week, their first ever state title.

 

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.

 

• Congratulations to C & A/LJ’s/HMK for capturing the championship at the 18th Annual BeBop 10,000 Lakes Classic C/D World NIT in Blaine on June 6.  They will be going to Disney World in mid-September. They also will receive $900 in cash/credit. Mayhem/Vegas Lounge/Clock Tower finished third to capture the “D” World berth & a trip to Disney! In the “E” World NIT that same weekend, CVB Softball outlasted the field to get their ticket punched to Orlando.

 

• Below is a list of remaining tournaments that are run by our state office. To enter any of these tournaments (which will all be played at BeBop’s in Blaine), call my office (763.571.1305 x 108) or visit our website at mnusssa.com.

 

Date                            Class                          Tournament

June 26-27              Men’s “C”                Money Tournament

                             Men’s “D”                Money Tournament

July 10-11               Men’s “C”                World NIT

                             Men’s “D”                World NIT

July 30-August 1      Men’s “C”                Money Tournament

                          Men’s “D”                Money Tournament

 

• We are going to have a “Wood Bat” state tournament sponsored by Combat Sports September 11-12.  There will be two divisions; “competitive” for players who played Class “C” & above and “recreational” for players who played D & E during the summer.

 

• Check out the Minnesota USSSA website and view the listings of all tournaments. You can also print out copies of numerous fliers for weekend tournaments.

 

Minnesota USSSA/MRPA Website

www.mnusssa.com

National USSSA Website

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!