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Hoffmanís and Redwood win first World berths


By Don Bowman


The first Minnesota USSSA World Qualifier berths of the season go to Hoffman and Blueline, who won the Burnsville NITS on April 19 and 20 at beautiful Lac Lavon Park.

The menís D bracket is very loaded this year, with as many as a dozen excellent ball clubs who can win a world berth on any given weekend. The first nod of the year goes to Hoffman/Titan Apparel (Woodbury), who defeated a superb Tina Kanes/PRP Softball Club in a close championship game, and winning a prestigious berth to Disneyworld in September. Hoffmanís title run was sparked by, not one, but THREE seventh-inning comebacks on Sunday!

Other top finishers were: Diamond Auto, the Black Sox, C&A, and Beggans. Many of these same teams will be battling it out for a menís class D national berth April 26th/27that BeBops in Blaine, at the 23rdAnnual Dudley Earlybird National Qualifier.

The menís B/C bracket was equally entertaining as it saw a high-energized Redwood/Sportsdiamond team out of Rogers, win the B world berth with a big win over Theraldsons, while J&H Wall/Chanticlear Pizza (a C team) claimed third place. Fourteen teams played in the B/C event.


Omaha USSSA World NIT recap

Omaha was the place to be last weekend as several teams with Minnesota ties played in the Omaha USSSA World NIT on April 19 and 20.

The defending USSSA Class C Womenís World Champions Hooters/Rockets/Easton (Little Canada), went a sizzling 7-0 entering the championship finals, only to get double dipped in the finals to a team out of Kansas for the world berth.

Congrats to the Hooters/Rocket/Easton menís class C team, who won the menís portion of the very same tourney in Omaha, as they picked up a menís D berth to the nationals on Labor Day weekend!


Florida hosts major menís tourney

The first USSSA Major Menís Conference Tournament of the year was also held last weekend in Kissimmee, Fla., with preseason No. 1 Resmondo double dipping No. 2 Dan Smith in the finals. John Danielsí Long Haul/Phonemasters club, rated No. 3 in the land, finished just that in third place, and went 4-2. These three clubs should take turns pounding each other in menís major play this season, as they are the three primary menís major teams in the land!


Dudley Earlybird set for this weekend

The longest running earlybird in the state kicks off this weekend, as nearly 40 teams play in the Dudley Earlybird Qualifier at BeBops (Blaine) on April 26 and 27. In addition to the stateís top menís D teams, some VERY good womenís class C and D teams will play off for a womenís national berth as well! Tanel Sports will have a booth set up for softball enthusiasts to see their latest line of footwear and accessories as well!


Local connections in Kissimmee

Locals Scott Brown was named to all tournament team in the Kissimmee tournament last weekend, while Scott OíNeil managed his Suncoast squad to a fine fourth-place finish, just behind the three major powerhouses. Local B powerhouse Contractors Capitol, led by slick pitching Dan ĎYo Yoí Yochum, and hard-hitting Geno Burdick Jr., went 3-2 in their first game in the national spotlight at Kissimmee as well.


Polar Classic this weekend in NSP

The always competitive North St. Paul High School Polar Classic, will be held April 26 and 27 at McKnight Fields in North St. Paul. The stateís defending class AA champions will be back to defend their title, playing the likes of such worthy contenders as Lakeville North, Burnsville, Ricori, Centennial, St. Bernards, Irondale and New Life Academy.

In addition, 24 other teams will vie for championships in girlsí junior varsity, b-squad and freshman divisions! Games also will be played at Goodrich Park in Maplewood.


Gophers split with Hawkeyes

The Golden Gopher womenís fastpitch team, much improved this season, earned a split with No. 25 Iowa in Cowtown last weekend. Hurler Briana Hassett was magnificent, going the distance in both games, earning the victory in the second game 3-2 in 10 innings!


Fundraiser planned for Busch family

A fundraiser softball tournament will be held Saturday, May 3 at Round Lake Fields in Eden Prairie for the family of longtime softball enthusiast Jerry Busch of Eden Prairie. Jerry was an avid softball player for many years, playing in Eden Prairie since he was 17.

Jerry passed away in early March at the young age of 46. All proceeds will go to his family! For information on the tournament, please call Steve Knudtson at 612-710-6798.

Sympathies also go out to the families of longtime senior softball players Stan Morinski (Roseville) and Gary Buesgens, who passed away at age 64 and 67, respectively, this past winter. Both played senior softball in the Roseville Tuesday/Thursday leagues.