Softball and baseballís favorite newspaper since 1987
By Don Bowman
By Don Bowman
Letís Play Softball Columnist
Hats off to tournament director Warren Bellm for staging once again one of the elite softball tournaments in the county, the 2013 Dudley/Budweiser/Easton Classic! No tournament staff in the country works harder in making this tournament one of the ďcanít missĒ events nationally year in and year out!
This year, sadly, a handful of top notch teams in the land will not be able to make the trip. The reason? Ridiculous airline fares! How in the hell can it cost $700 to fly into Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport. Itís a joke!
Rumor has it the state softball directors are going to make some calls to the right people to see if we can get this problem rectified. Itís bad for the economy and for softball!
My prediction for this weekend: no rain (breaking the jinx!), with Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth topping LaserVision/DesertFalls/Boombah/Easton 47-42 in the finals!
Top umpires working the Dudley
Some of the nationís top umpires will be on hand for the Dudley Classic this weekend, including a crew of locals that just returned from a Major NIT tourney in Columbus, Ohio, and were a BIG hit!
The cast included veteran USSSA redmen Pete Strand, Thunder Thornton, Mark Dahlenbach, Mike Ellenz and Scotty ďSlim FingersĒ OíNeil! The crew had a solid effort and a big thanks goes out to OíNeil, for taking the crew to his favorite watering hole, Christophers in Columbus, to celebrate their efforts after the event!
LaserVision wins in Chicago
In the big Chicago Windy City Major tourney held three weeks ago, LaserVision/Easton stunned Resmondo/Worth in the finals by double dipping the sod men, 47-32 and 37-17 in capturing the 2013 championship!
Thirty-five teams from 17 different states participated, which saw some great Ďbig timeí softball action taking place! Finishing a solid third was Shoppe/TYJA/Louisville Slugger (featuring local star pitcher Andy Vitcak), who played tough until LaserVision broke their hearts in the third-place game winning 47-46, and scored a whopping 19 runs in the sixth inning alone.
Scott Brown missing the Dudley
Area softball star and soon to be USSSA Hall of Famer Scott Brown and this Combat team will not be attendance this weekend due to scheduling difficulties.
In addition to his softball travels, Brownie has been busy promoting USSSA fastpitch softball again this year. A couple of BIG upcoming USSSA youth fastpitch tourneys include the Stars and Stripes Qualifier on July 7-8 and the Northern State Tournaments for ages 10U-18U! Check the MNUSSSA website for more info!
Gopher fastpitch wraps up season
The Golden Gopher womenís softball club went 2-2 in the west coast NCAA Regional Tournament in Washington a couple of weeks ago and finished third. The U knocked off Portland State twice, while losing to the University of Hawaii twice themselves. Washington won the regional and advanced to the NCAA Womenís World Series in Oklahoma City.
Long Haul Bomber Tour underway
The Long Haul Bomber tour is still knockiní em dead at Major League ballparks around the country! Last weekend at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington before a crowd for 40,000, Scott Kirby was the big star, with several upper deck bombs to win the event with 11 points! Kirby represents Easton on the tour, while Chris Grienert of Team Suncoast Reebok was second!
Speaking of the Bomber Tour, great news for area softball fans! The Bomber tour will be at Target Field on August 2 for the Minnesota Twins game, and now it appears the finals will be at Midway Stadium in St. Paul on August 24, and be covered by CBS Sports!
Stay tuned for more information soon!
High school fastpitch tourney a hit
Some FANSTASTIC softball action was played in the MSHSL State Tournament in Mankato on June 6-7! In Class AAA play, Elk River parlayed some tremendous defense and timely offense in knocking off Prior Lake 4-3 in eight innings! Two spectacular game-- saving catches by the Elk River outfield was the key. In AA play, New Ulm knocked off Kasson-Mantorville in the finals, while in Class A action, Blooming Prairie defeated New Life Academy 3-1!
Mosquitoland crowns champions
Among the champions crowned at the 2013 Mosquitoland SSUSA/SPA qualifier in Little Canada were: MN Masters (menís 70ís major/AAA), Jimmyís Gold 75ís (menís 75/80ís AAA) and High Five Bar & Grill (menís 65ís major).
10,000 Lakes Senior Classic recap
The Rochester 10,000 Lakes Senior Classic was held June 8-9. The MN Merchants won the 50/55 major plus championship, Pope Transport (Wis.) won the 55 major title and while the WI Masters 55ís topped the MN Masters 60ís for the 55/60 championship hardware.
McQuillan Park in Rochester, a very nice facility, could use some bigger dugouts, however. Theyíre not meant to house 13 grown men for seven innings at time, and could use a second ďback door,Ē to get the players in and out to the field.