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Minnesota softball is No. 1 in the nation


By Don Bowman


No wonder Minnesotans are getting the itch for the warm weather to break. Last year, Minnesota was No. 1 nationally for softball team registration, according to MN USSSA State director Gerry Turnberg! Those numbers are only expected to get bigger in 2009, with most leagues already filled and looking ahead to tournament play starting later this month!


Dan Smith owns No. 1 ranking

Dan Smith of San Jose, Calif., will be the No. 1 rated men’s slow pitch team in the land, heading into 2009. Coming off their thrilling Men’s USSSA Major World Series Championship in Orlando last September, Smith, not Resmondo (Fla.), will be the team to beat. Gary Jost of Oakdale, Minn., has left Dan Smith Softball, and is now the field general for Smith rival Long Haul Trucking/Miken of Albertville, Minn., who themselves are rated No. 3.


Mankato to host ASA national tourney

Mankato, Minn., will hold the prestigious ASA 18/16/14/12/10 and under boys fast pitch National Championships July 29 through August 2, at Caswell Park. Mankato is this state’s hotbed for fast pitch as they also hold the MSHSL state championships there annually as well.


From the diamond to the ice

Two of the area’s top softball players had sons playing for the Blaine High School hockey team, in this year’s state ‘big school’ hockey tournament. Mike Brodzinski and Scott ‘Pockets’ Richart’s sons both contributed mightily to Blaine’s outstanding season!


WSL schedule set

The World Softball League has a full slate of premier softball tournaments scheduled for 2009. Included are: Corky’s Earlybird (Owatonna) on May 1-3, the 6’s Wild Tournament (Treasure Island) on May 15-17, and the 51st Annual Fireman’s Tournament (Bloomington), on July 17-19. The WSL will culminate their exciting 2009 tournament schedule with two huge events in Panama City Beach Florida. The WSL North American National Championships will be held on Sept. 11-13 AND Sept. 18-20, depending on your classification, with HUGE cash/prize giveaways. For more info, go to the website.


USSSA to see yellow in 2010

Optic yellow softballs will be the new fad for USSSA softball play come 2010! In a new ruling, starting next season, Minnesota USSSA softball participants will be wacking Dudley optic yellow blue stitch balls rather than the usual white balls. With the high performance bats the USSSA programs are allowing, program directors feel the optic yellow version will add a bit of safety/visibility to their events. Don’t be surprised to see many cities/tournaments using the new ball this year!


Dudley Earlybird set for April 25-26

The 29th Annual Dudley Earlybird National Qualifier will be held April 25-26 at BeBops/Blaine area fields. The event will feature Mens D/E, Womens C/D, and Co Rec C/D national qualifying divisions, with a three-game guarantee and national berth awarded. For more info, call 651-490-0045. The Dudley Earlybird is the longest running MN USSSA National Qualifier in the state!


New women’s conference in 2009

The new Women’s Northern Conference of Champions program begins this year for competitive women’s softball clubs in this area. For a fee, your team will receive paid entries into three conference tournaments, and receive points depending on how you finish and what your team classification is. Run handicaps are provided when, say, a ‘C’ team plays a ‘B’ and so on, and in the end, teams will receive world/national berths and a huge cash payout! For information, call 763-571-1305, ext. 108.


Titan/Tina Kane/Easton heads to Mo

Titan Apparel/Tina Kane/Easton will lead a contingency of Midwest softball teams down to the ‘Mighty Mo’ tournament in Missouri later this month. Stayed tuned to Let’s Play Softball News for the results!


Showcase/All American is back

The former class ‘B’ USSSA World Champions, Showcase/All American Softball, have got the band back together again after a one-year hiatus, and will take a crack at winning another world championship this season. With a potent roster and experienced coaching staff, there is no reason why they can’t do it again! The team is sponsored by Worth this season.


Get well soon, Mike Botten

Former local softball basher, Mike Botten of the Minneapolis area, is undergoing some tough medical challenges these days. Let’s Play Softball and friends wish Mike and his family the very best on a speedy recovery! Family friends can send best wishes to: