baseball’s favorite newspaper since 1987
Welcome to the Dudley
By Gerry Turnberg
Central Division Vice President
On behalf of Minnesota’s USSSA and the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association, I
want to welcome all players and fans to Brooklyn Center’s Dudley/Budweiser/Easton Major NIT. It is hard to believe
that this is the 28th year that the world’s
best softball players have invaded the Gopher
I am fortunate
enough to have been involved in all 28 tourneys in various capacities. I look
forward to this event with great anticipation each year, not only for the
quality of softball that is displayed, but also for the opportunity to renew
old friendships. There are many memories of past tourneys, but what I cherish
most are the lasting relationships this tourney has created with friends from
all over the country.
For those of you who
are not familiar with our program, we are very proud of the fact that Minnesota ranked first nationally in team registrations during the
2009 campaign. We registered over 6,300 teams. We also led the country in
umpire registrations last year!
We sent over 150
teams to National and World tournaments last fall and we are proud of the fact
that two teams captured World titles, Easton/Hooters/Rockets (Women’s “B”) and
Showcase/All American Restoration/CR’s (Mixed “C”).
This past January, a
crowd of over 300 gathered at Brooklyn Center’s Embassy Suites, Minneapolis to honor our newest inductees into our State Hall of Fame –
Greg Brown, Barb Drake Lindgren, Kurt Hornnes, John Keprios, Jeff Kurkowski, Mike Pendzimas, Jim Sweat, Jeff Thompson and Mike Trewick.
reveal that Minnesota’s USSSA will continue to grow and prosper in the years to
come. Our No. 1 priority is to give you, the participant, a
quality program that you can enjoy.
Let’s give a warm Minnesota welcome to Rick Robertson, USSSA’s
National Umpire in Chief (Kissimmee,
Fla.), who will be assisting us here this weekend.
Once again, some of
the country’s finest will be calling balls and strikes
at this Dudley tournament. Now, let’s meet these dedicated individuals:
Jerry Marinelli –
Jerry enjoys retirement from the Post Office after 36 years of employment. Jerry
has retired from umpiring but continues to be our USSSA Minnesota State Umpire
in Chief the past six years. Jerry umpired the 2000 and 2004 Men’s Major World
Series in Florida. In 2002, he was elected into the USSSA Minnesota Hall of
Fame. In 2009, Jerry received the USSSA National Spark Plug of the Year Award.
Jerry is married and has two children, six grandchildren and three great
grandchildren. His hobbies include
golfing and being around softball.
Mike Fluegge – Mike is a
22-year retired U.S. Air Force veteran and is currently an Independent
Insurance Agent/ Broker for Eagle
Insurance Center. He’s been a USSSA Official since 1999 and this is his fifth
Dudley Tournament. Mike is also the Minnesota State Deputy Umpire in Chief. In
2007, he umpired the Major World Series, the Men’s A and B World Series and the
Conference USSSA Championships in Florida, along with many other World, National, Regional and State
Tournaments in his career. Mike has two sons and a daughter, Kevin (23),
Nicholas (21) and Skyler (11). He enjoys hunting,
fishing, riding his Harley Davidson Road King Classic and spending good quality
time with his parents, Ron and Mavis, and the rest of his family.
Dave Robinson – Dave is a high school and college football and basketball
official. He played in the first seven Dudleys.
Dave worked in the 1997 Men’s Major World Series in Daytona Beach. This is his 20th year umpiring in the
Classic! Dave is also a member of our Minnesota USSSA Hall of Fame.
Dana Erickson – This is Dana’s 25th year as an umpire and
his 15th Dudley. He has been married to his bride, Leileni, for 26 years. He has worked numerous NIT’s and State Tournaments. Dana enjoys playing poker and
spending time with his wife. He also has worked for Center Point for over 21 years.
Erick Norby – Erick is
an Assistant Principal at Plymouth
Middle School in Plymouth. He’s umpired since 1985 and for the past 14 years, he’s
been the New Hope Umpire in Chief. In 2001, Erick umpired the Men’s “B” World
Series and Men’s “D” National Tournament in the championship game. This is
Erick’s 10th year umpiring the Dudley.
He and his beautiful wife, Kristen, have two wonderful children, Marissa (14)
and Reese (10).
Rick Alexander – This is Rick’s eighth consecutive year in the Dudley.
This is his 25th season as a USSSA
umpire. Rick has umpired many National and World tournaments, including the
2003 Men’s Master’s, 2004 “C” World and the 2006 “D” World. Rick is an
Insurance agent with Prudential Insurance. He is married to his lovely wife, Breanna, and resides in Monticello, Minn.
Mike Ellenz – Mike is
the owner of Premier Construction Services and has umpired numerous NCAA
baseball and fastpitch National Championships. He has
also worked State, National and World USSSA Slow-Pitch events. This is Mike’s
sixth Dudley Tournament.
– Dan works for Allina Hospitals and Clinics as a Senior Buyer. He’s been a USSSA umpire for
14 years, officiating numerous State, Regional and World Tournaments. This is
Dan’s fifth Dudley Tournament. In addition to umpiring softball, he referees
hockey and enjoys coaching youth baseball and hockey. Dan and his wife, Trini, live in New Brighton and have four children, Nicole (26), Megan (22), Derek (21)
and Joey (12).
Pete Strand III
– Pete has worked for RB Honda for nine
years. He has umpired in two World Series, one in Blaine, Minn., and the other
in Orlando, Fla. Pete has been umpiring for 16 years and has played and umpired
in many state and national tournaments, and is still playing. Pete also enjoys
golfing, bowling and mountain biking. This is Pete’s fifth Dudley.
Ardell Moeller – Ardell has been married to his lovely wife Jayne for 11
years. He has worked for Best Buy for 21 years. Ardell
has umpired in two World Series, one in Blaine,
Minn., and the other in Orlando,
Fla. He has umpired and played in many national and state
tournaments. When he is not on the softball field, he is an avid bowler and has
thrown two 300 games. This is Ardell’s fourth Dudley.
Bart Peck – Bart has been umpiring for 15 years and this is his
third Dudley Tournament. During this time, he has umpired numerous Regional, NIT’s, State and World Tournaments. Bart has been married
for 24 years to his wonderful wife, Katie, and they have two great kids, Alex
(15) and Amanda (13). In addition to umpiring softball, Bart is also a high
school baseball and basketball official. He spends much of his summer watching
his daughter Amanda’s fastpitch team and is Alex’s
No. 1 baseball and basketball fan!
Cathy Hoffman – Cathy has two sons, Dalton
(11) and Garret (9), and resides in Anoka.
She is a teacher and has been teaching for 18 years. Cathy also works for USSSA
Minnesota Softball as my Assistant. Cathy has played women’s and mixed softball
for over 33 years. In 2008, Cathy umpired the Men’s D and Women’s B and D World
Series in Lake Buena
She was chosen to umpire the Women’s B championship game. In 2009, Cathy
umpired the Men’s B and C World Tournament in Florida. This is Cathy’s third Dudley and our first female umpire
working the Dudley Tournament.
Reggie Jarrett – Reggie was born and raised in the Windy
City. He has four children, Eddie (30), Reggie Jr. (26), Regina
(25) and Lance (18), and eight grandchildren. Reggie has worked for the
Minneapolis Park Board for the last 21 years. His hobbies include bowling,
golfing, riding motorcycle and playing competitive softball for the last 15
years. Reggie has umpired numerous men’s and women’s B, C, D and E National and
World qualifiers. The past two years he umpired the Men’s B, C, D and Women’s
B, C, and D World Series in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This is Reggie’s second Dudley Tournament.
Mike Kloos – Mike works
full-time for a software company in Minnetonka; part-time as a tax preparer for H & R Block for the
past 19 years; and has umpired the game of softball for 29 years. He’s also the
former President of the White Bear Lake Umpires Association. Mike has four children, two boys and two
girls, and has coached them in their baseball and fastpitch
softball programs. He is an avid handball player and plays softball when time
permits. This will be Mike’s second Dudley
Kevin Peterson – Kevin has worked 23 years in the automotive field as
a GM Technician. He has been an umpire for 17 years and has umpired in
National, NIT’s and State Tournaments. When not
umpiring, Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife, Paige, and his twin boys,
Nick and Nate. This is Kevin’s second Dudley
Earl Thompson – Earl has been married for 24 years to his wife
Debbie. They have three children, two boys and a girl. Earl has been umpiring
for 18 years. He has umpired B, C, D NIT, World Qualifiers and numerous state
tournaments. Earl has coached many different levels from high school, college,
semi-pros and arena football. This is Earl’s first Dudley Tournament.
Steve Thornton – Steve is an eight-year Marine Corps Veteran. He has
umpired at all levels from football, basketball, baseball and softball. Steve
has five children, two boys and three girls, Jacboy
(30), Mikaela (22), Imani
(21), Shayania (13) and Steven (6). Steve enjoys
fishing, camping and spending quality time with his children. This is Steve’s
first Dudley Tournament.
Ray Peterson – Ray has been married for 33 years to his wife, Katherin. He has three children and two grandchildren. Ray
has worked for Trio Supply for 15 years. He has been a USSSA umpire for 19
years. In 2001, he umpired the World Series in Blaine.
He is a high school and college baseball and basketball official. This is Ray’s
first Dudley Tournament.
– Mark has worked for HD Supply for two years. He has been umpiring for eight
years and umpired the last two D Nationals in St.Louis
and Sioux City, Iowa. Mark has been married for 10 years to his wife, Tonya. They
have a son, Devon (2) old and a daughter, Taylor (10 weeks). This is Mark’s
first Dudley Tournament
Chuck (Doc) Beckwell –
Chuck comes from the Wolverine State. “Doc” works as a family and cosmetic dentist in both Shelby
Township and St.
Clair Shores, Mich.
Chuck, Beth and four kids, Charles III
(who began umpiring for USSSA this past year), Erin, Robert and Allyson reside
in Shelby Township as well. He started umpiring in 1977 and joined the USSSA in
1984 at Liberty Park of America in Sterling Heights, Mich. He has umpired in world tourneys each year since then,
including the class A/AA and then the Class A for the past seasons, getting his
first start in Raleigh, Va. Doc has worked world tournaments in each major
classification since beginning in 1984. He umpired a home run derby in Tiger
Stadium in 2001 where Mike Macenko became only the 19th player to ever clear the roof in the stadium
with a home run ball. Harmon Killebrew, the great Minnesota player, is one of only four to clear the right field roof.
Doc umpired the first-ever USSSA Conference final at the plate in 2006 and
added the plate for the finals of the Class “A” and Major World Series that
year as well. In 2006, he attended the USSSA National Convention and was named
USSSA “Officials of the Year.” Doc was inducted into the Michigan USSSA Hall of
Fame in 1996, was nominated for the USSSA National Hall of Fame and has umpired
in nine Major World Series (1998, 2001-2009). This
will be Doc’s fourth Dudley Tournament.
Tony (the Rook) Walczak –
Tony currently lives in Macomb Township, Mich., where he is a Supervisor in Shipping and Receiving. He
joined USSSA in 1993 at the Liberty Park of American in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Tony has umpired six Men’s Major World Series (2004-09) and three Mixed World
Series Tournaments (2006 and 2008, 2009). He has also umpired four Conference
USSSA Championships (2006-09), and numerous NIT’s,
State and Regional Tournaments. Tony has done several World Tournaments,
including five “A”, two “B”, and three “C” and “D”. He has been honored to
receive the Michigan Umpire in Chief award in 2005. This is Tony’s fourth Dudley
Duane (Drano) Posavetz
– Duane is originally from Michigan and now resides in Orlando,
Fla., where he’s a service consultant for a Chevrolet dealership.
Drano has been umpiring for over 27 years with many accolades to include USSSA
“Official of the Year” in 2007. He’s umpired all levels at the National and
World Series divisions, to include nine Major World Series appearances, with
the first in Fredrick, Md., in 1996. He and his beautiful wife Linda have two wonderful
kids, Jason (32) and Kelly (19). He enjoys bowling and playing golf with his
wife, Mr. Rick and the lovely Ms. Anna. This is Drano’s third Dudley.
In addition to the
umpires who will be working the trenches, I want you to know some of the other
fine individuals associated with the Dudley/Budweiser/Easton Classic:
Jim Glasoe, our host,
is the Director of Brooklyn Center’s Community Activities, Recreation and
Service Department. Jim enjoys golf and home improvement projects in his spare
time. Jim and his wife, Ann of 21 years reside in Champlin
with their two sons.
our host, is the Recreation Program Supervisor for the City of Brooklyn Center. Joe runs one of the state’s finest USSSA leagues. His
hobbies include softball, hunting and fishing.
Joe and his wife, Theresa, reside in Champlin.
He is a member of our state Hall of Fame.
Warren Bellm is the
choreographer for this tournament. As the Tournament Director, he ultimately
has the responsibility of coordinating the overall effort along with Joe. Warren
will have put in literally hundreds of hours before a champion is declared on
Sunday afternoon. He is responsible for making this the No. 1 NIT in the
country. Warren himself was a well-respected umpire for 16 years and is
currently a USSSA Area Director. He is also the Tournament Director for the
Men’s Major World Series and numerous Conference Tournaments. Warren
retired as an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office of Hennepin
County. This spring he started working for the Minnesota Twins at Target Field
in guest services. Warren and his wife, Sandy,
have two children, and three grandchildren. Warren
is a member of our State Hall of Fame.
Joe Bruntmyer is
a tournament assistant. Joe is the Athletic Supervisor for the Vernon Hills
Illinois Park District. Joe, who was my assistant in 2000, comes back to his
old stomping grounds to assist each year.
Gregg Otten has been in
and around softball for over 40 years and is a member of our State Hall of
Fame. Gregg started OTTS Product Company specializing in softball bat protection
equipment. Gregg, his wife Patty and daughter Kelsey (19) live in Maple Grove.
Steve Cahill would normally be umpiring this weekend but a knee injury
has put him on the staff. Steve’s son Aaron and his wife Sara have a son,
Logan, who Grandpa is very proud of! Steve is employed by Goodin,
a wholesale plumbing and heating company and also works for the city of Brooklyn Center. Steve is a member of our State Hall of Fame.
When the voice of
softball, Ray Molphy retired a few years ago, some
thought it would leave a void in the announcing department. But the announcing
has not missed a beat with the very capable Dave Trombley.
When Ray had to catch a plane before the start of the 1998 championship game,
Dave was called to duty and he’s been behind the mic
on the north field ever since. Dave, who is 37 years old, lives in Brooklyn Park.
Steve Ericson will be on
the mic on the south field this weekend. He is very
well respected in the softball world and is a member of our State Hall of Fame.
Steve is employed by Independent School
279 and is the head girls’ fastpitch coach at Park
Center High. Steve and his family live in Otsego. Steve guided the Park Center
Pirates fastpitch team to the MSHSL State
Championship last week, their first ever state title.
Maintenance Department is the best in the business. Once again the playing
conditions will be second to none!
I have only
mentioned a handful of people associated with this tournament. Obviously it
takes a great deal more people than that to run a tournament of this magnitude.
I salute the many employees of the park maintenance, police, recreation and
volunteer fire departments and others who lend their time and talents to make
this the best Men’s Major National Invitational Tournament in the country.
• Congratulations to
C & A/LJ’s/HMK
for capturing the championship at the 18th Annual BeBop 10,000 Lakes Classic C/D World NIT in Blaine
on June 6. They will be going to Disney
World in mid-September. They also will receive $900 in cash/credit.
Mayhem/Vegas Lounge/Clock Tower finished third to capture the “D” World berth
& a trip to Disney! In the “E” World NIT that same weekend, CVB
Softball outlasted the field to get their ticket punched to Orlando.
• Below is a list of
remaining tournaments that are run by our state office. To enter any of these tournaments
(which will all be played at BeBop’s in Blaine),
call my office (763.571.1305 x 108) or visit our website at mnusssa.com.
Date Class Tournament
June 26-27 Men’s
“C” Money Tournament
“D” Money Tournament
July 10-11 Men’s
“C” World NIT
“D” World NIT
July 30-August 1 Men’s
“C” Money Tournament
Men’s “D” Money Tournament
• We are going to
have a “Wood Bat” state tournament sponsored by Combat Sports September
11-12. There will be two divisions;
“competitive” for players who played Class “C” & above and “recreational”
for players who played D & E during the summer.
• Check out the
Minnesota USSSA website and view the listings of all tournaments. You can also
print out copies of numerous fliers for weekend tournaments.
Minnesota USSSA/MRPA Website
If I can be of any
assistance in any of your softball needs, please call me at 763.571.1305 x 108
or 1.800.862.3659 x108 or write me at:
MRPA 200 Charles Street NE Fridley MN 55432
Remember – it is
you, the player, coach, fan and umpire that make USSSA a GREAT organization and
the place to be!