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The Dudley Classic is truly a softball spectacular

  

By Don Bowman

 

It was almost three decades ago when the first Dudley Classic was played, and this weekend, area softball fans will be treated a 27th time, to the very best slowpitch softball in the nation!

Once again, tournament director Warren Bellm and his tireless staff will put on an event that combines a great softball showcase with an atmosphere that even Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey would be envious!

The nation’s top three Major Clubs –Resmondo/Worth (FL), Dan Smith/Combat (CA) and local favorites Long Haul Trucking/Miken/Phonemasters (MN), will be hitting blasts that will be sure to drown out the traffic noise from nearby highway 694!

Also included this year are 33 of the nation’s top A/B/C/D ball clubs who are primed to make a name for themselves at this year’s extravaganza! Other top contenders include Bud Light, T&R Stucco, Jean Shoppe, GTL, O&S Cattle/Pov’s and Showcase. The latter two are Minnesota’s top A/B teams. Get there early!

Resmondo is the hottest team coming in but you can’t count out hometown favorite Long Haul and especially Dan Smith who seem to own this tournament. My pick: Dan Smith over Resmondo 34-32 in the ‘if’ game.

 

Home run contest back again

A BIG thanks goes out to Titan Apparel, Combat and BeBops for sponsoring the big Dudley Classic Home Run Contest at BeBops in Fridley on Thursday, June 18. This issue went to press before we could announce the final standings, but this event included all the biggest names in Major Softball, including Brett Helmer, Rusty Bumgardner, Jeff Wallace, JC Phelps, Scott Brown and more! With over 80 participants on hand, the Hooters girls making an appearance and a large cash payout, this is truly a great annual event! This event gets bigger and better every year thanks to Bill Dehkes (Titan Apparel/Supreme Sports) and his staff!

 

Loading up for the Dudley

Two of Minnesota’s top clubs bolstered their Dudley Classic roster heading into this weekend’s “main event”! O&S Cattle/Pov’s landed major star Alex ‘Hot Lava’ Lavarico, while Showcase/Worth picked up super sub Darren “Hammer off the Bench“ Holman, who happened to go 5-for-5 with four bombs in his first action of the year in Joliet last weekend!

O&S has been re-rated to Class ‘A’ in recent weeks, and in doing so, picked up some financial backing from the USSSA Conference Program in order to compete more often in conference events around the country. Hopefully this new rating will not harm them in years to come, so they can compete effectively in the proper class they choose.

 

Not-so-friendly day for one team

The ‘Friendly City Days’ tournament in Albertville last weekend turned out to be not so friendly after all! One of the top teams in state, feeling a little frustrated after getting knocked out of the tournament, got into a melee among themselves immediately following the event. After a few “hammer locks” and a couple of “full nelsons,” civility was restored, and everbody went home with just minor bruises and scrapes.

 

Resmondo wins in Joliet

Resmondo/Worth continued their sizzling play last weekend in winning the Joliet (IL) Major Tournament. In the finals, Resmondo defeated archrival Dan Smith/Combat 39-32, while GTL Cartel grabbed third-place hardware. Pat Delsanders is back at the helm for Dan Smith as the field general in 2009 after serving as the team’s general manager for the past several seasons.

 

Mosquitoland champions crowned

The Mosquitoland Classic crowned SPA National Qualifier Champions in the following age divisions two weeks ago in Little Canada: Men’s 50 Major plus: Kevitt Excavating and Long Haul/Ancell (MN); Men’s 55 Major plus: Roberts Construction (WI); Men’s 55 AAA: Omaha Spirit 55’s; Men’s 60 Major/Major plus: Rickers (MN); Men’s 65’s Major: MN Prize Co. and in Men’s 70’s: Coffee Cup (MN). Congratulations to all participants!

 

Softball loses a friend

Our condolences to the family of Tom Newell Sr., who passed away a few weeks ago. Newell Concrete was a name synonymous with ASA Men’s State Class ‘A’ Championships in the 1980s, and Tom Sr., was one of the main reasons why. His sponsorship and allegiance to his team was a factor through many seasons of winning softball and state tournament successes. He will be missed!

 

Long Haul Bombers Tour at the Dome

The Long Haul Bombers Tour, one of the great successes in slowpitch softball marketing, was a huge success again this week at the Metrodome in Minneapolis on June 17. Prior to the Twins game against the Pirates, Team Miken featuring Denny Crine and Geno Buck took on JC Phelps and JD Genter of Team TPS, in the battle of softball titans! According to reports Crine, the 2008 Bomber Champion, is leading the individual standings heading into the team events this week!

Another great event slated for January is the Long Haul Stadium Power Celebrity Cruise beginning Jan. 10, 2010, and sponsored by the WSL and Carnival Cruises. Go to the worldsoftballleague.com or softball360.com for details now!

 

Showcase wins NIT in Fridley

Class ‘B’ powerhouse Showcase/Worth double dipped a tough C&A ball club, in winning the USSSA World NIT in Fridley two weeks ago. The C&A class ‘C’ team is on fire themselves, and could be poised to post an upset or two at this weekend’s Dudley event!

 

Seeing optic yellow in USSSA

Speaking of the USSSA, their idea to go with optic yellow balls and 70’ bases now in competitive softball programs, is a GREAT success! The safety it provides to infielders has had a major impact on the game. Now if they just figure out that the pitcher’s box belongs in conference play too, they might just win a Nobel Peace Prize or maybe even an award from JD Power and Associates too!