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50th annual Firemanís Classic set for July 18-20

 

By Don Bowman

 

Year in year out, ALWAYS one of the finest softball spectacles in the nation, the 50thAnnual Firemanís Softball Classic is slated for Valley View and Dred Scott Parks in Bloomington!

Nearly 100 teams are expected, not just from the softball hotbed here in Minnesota, but from across the Midwest as well! This tournament is so special (the 50th), I am told that tournament director Jeff Barnes (good old #164) will be bungee jumping off the water tower near Valley View 4 on Friday night! Now that IS going to be grand!

Early this year, one of the better softball sluggers in the land J.D. Bergsteiner (Ga.) of Fencebrokers Softball (Ill.), was commenting to fellow teammates who hale from across the land that the Minnesota Firemanís Classic ďwas the most impressive tournament I ever played in, you HAVEto play there!ĒHis comments were directed to incredible circus atmosphere, with crowds literally crawling onto the field DURING play.

Bergsteiner also commented about the harrowing defense that needed to be played on the open fields across the street of the Valley View complex, ďquite the experience!Ē Regrettably later that evening, J.D. died in his sleep (due to a heart problem) not able to fulfill his dreams for 2008, but at least getting to experience the pleasure that it was to play in the Firemanís in previous years, with Jean Shoppe.

 

Long Haul the team to watch

Long Hall/Phonemasters/Miken, will be the team to watch in the menís Tier I division. Managed by Minnesota Hall of Famer hurler Teddy Larson, watch out for sluggers Hank Garris, Denny Crine and Geno Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) on the small Valley View 4 field AND on the open fields as well!!

Crine and Buck, members of the Team Miken Bombers Tour group, recently competed at Seattleís Safeco Field last weekend, both hitting several monstrous shots, impressing the Seattle Mariners crowds! Both players were complimented by locals afterwards for offering softball hitting tips and spending time signing autographs!

 

Fastpitch tourneys galore

Fast pitch softball tournaments will be EVERYWHERE on July 11-13, as the Minnesota Metro Fastpitch League State Tournaments will be held in White Bear, Inver Grove Heights, St. Paul, Mounds View, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and more!

 

Umpire Ron Toskey passes away

Condolences to the family of outstanding umpire Ron Toskey, who passed away due to a heart attack, in his sleep, at his home in White Bear Lake on July 3. Ronnie was a GREAT guy who would shoot the breeze with anyone, and umpired some of the biggest games ever played in the state of Minnesota at the Dudley Classic.

Ron was doing a great job as the sports manager at the Stadium Bar/Sportsplex in White Bear Lake at the time of his passing, as will be greatly missed. He was 58 years old. R.I.P., RT!!!

 

Resmondo wins in Connecticut

Major menís powerhouse Resmondo/Worth (No. 2 rated in the land), won the Worth Northeast Shootout in Branford Ct., on June 27-29. Finishing second was a very talented ABS/Easton club, a class A ball team. Heading into the Firemanís weekend, Dan Smith continues to be rated No. 1 in menís open play, with Long Haul No. 3 and Jean Shoppe holding down the No. 4 spot.

 

Crystal Frolics Tournament update

With so few A and B menís teams around these days, there is talk that the prestigious Crystal Frolics Tournament will not have an open division. That would be very sad!

The good news is that there are 14 gazillion menís D teams in the state, and they could run 2-3 divisions of that if needed.

More good news about the Frolics. There will be a home run contest for both the men and women on Thursday July 24. For info, email Tony Schrepher ata.p.schrepher@att.net. A large cash payout is expected!

 

Yochum to reunite at Firemanís

Dan ďYo YoĒ Yochum will be reunited with Showcase (2007 World Champs) teammates Jimmy Thurman, Yoshi Thompson, Matt Kelsey and Ryan Zenk, in playing for All-American Restoration at the Firemanís. Rumors of the teamďgetting the band back togetherĒ for 2009 have cooled.

 

Contractorís to play in Tennessee

Contractorís Capitol will be making an appearance at the 2008 Smokey Mountain Classic in Tennessee this month.

 

Top womenís teams set for Firemanís

P3 out of Seattle, one of the top womenís softball teams in the land, will take on Minnesotaís finest at the Firmenís. Top Minnesota clubs expected to participate in the upper division are: T-Boltz, Ice, Madjacks, Macken, Rockets, Outsiders and more!