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Welcome to the Dudley

  

By Gerry Turnberg

USSSA State Director

Central Divisional 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 29th year that the world’s best softball players have invaded the Gopher State. I am fortunate enough to have been involved in all 29 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 2010 campaign. We registered over 6,700 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 very proud of the fact that the Polars from North St. Paul captured the Girls’ 19 & under world title.

This past January, a crowd of over 300 gathered at Brooklyn Park’s Northland Inn to honor our newest inductees into our State Hall of Fame: Dick Anderson, Doug Bryant, Mike Ellenz, Michelle (Erlien) Masters, Scott Holum, Jack Kirk, John Locke, Ardell Moeller, Greg Schwab and Jackie Werner Jr.

All indications 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 seven years.

Jerry umpired the 2000 and 2004 Men’s Major World Series in Florida. In 2002, he was inducted 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 sixth Dudley Tournament. Mike is also the Minnesota USSSA State Deputy Umpire in Chief. 

In 2007, he umpired the Men’s Major World Series, the Men’s “A” and “B” World Series, and the Conference USSSA Championships in Florida. He’s officiated many other World, National, Regional and State Tournaments in his career.

Mike has two sons and a daughter, Kevin (24), Nicholas (22) and Skyler (12). 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 Dudley’s. Dave worked in the 1997 Men’s Major World Series in Daytona Beach. This is his 21st year umpiring in the Classic! Dave is also a member of our USSSA Minnesota Hall of Fame.

 

Dana Erickson This is Dana’s 26th year as an umpire and his 16th Dudley. He has been married to his bride, Leileni, for 27 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 33 years.

 

Ken Girard – This will be Ken’s 17th Dudley. Ken has been umpiring and referring for 30 plus years. During those 30 years, Ken has worked for Joe Ericksen in Brooklyn Center Park and Rec. He has also umpired numerous state and national tournaments, including two Class B and two over-35 World Series. 

Ken has also been a member of the MN State high school league for 12 years doing basketball, football, baseball and broomball. Ken’s hobbies include deer hunting and fishing and most anything out doors.

 

Erick Norby – Erick is an Assistant Principal at Plymouth Middle School in Plymouth. He’s umpired since 1985.  Erick umpired the Men’s “B” World Series and Men’s “D” National Tournament in the championship game. From 2001-08 he was the umpire in chief for New Hope. This is Erick’s 11th year umpiring the Dudley. He and his beautiful wife, Kristen, have two wonderful children, Marissa (15) and Reese (11). 

 

Rick Alexander – This is Rick’s ninth consecutive year in the Dudley. This is his 26th season as a USSSA umpire. He has been the umpire in Chief in New Hope for three years. 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 they are expecting their first child in December. They reside in Monticello, Minn.

 

Mike Ellenz – Mike is the owner of Premier Construction Services and has umpired 32 NCAA baseball and fastpitch national championships. He has also worked State, National and World USSSA Slow Pitch events. In 2010, he was inducted into the USSSA Minnesota Hall of Fame. This is Mike’s seventh Dudley.

 

Dan Marcouiller – Dan works for Allina Hospitals and Clinics as a Senior Buyer. He’s been a USSSA umpire for 15 years, officiating numerous State, Regional and World Tournaments. This is Dan’s sixth Dudley. 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 (27), Megan (23), Derek (22) and Joey (13). 

 

Pete Strand III – Pete lives in Rosemount, Minn. He has worked for RB Honda for 10 years in the parts department Pete has umpired in three World Series and has been umpiring for 17 years. He 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 sixth Dudley.

 

Ardell MoellerArdell has been married to his lovely wife Jayne for 12 years. He has worked for Best Buy for 22 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 four 300 games. In 2010, he was inducted into the USSSA Minnesota Hall of Fame. This is Ardell’s fifth Dudley.

 

Bart Peck – Bart has been umpiring for 17 years and this is his fourth Dudley. During this time, he has umpired numerous Regional, NIT’s, State and World Tournaments in Orlando, Fla.

Bart has been married for 25 years to his wonderful wife, Katie, and they have two great kids, Alex (16) and Amanda (14). 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 (12) and Garret (10) and resides in Ramsey. She is a substitute teacher and has been teaching for 19 years. For the past three years, Cathy has worked for Minnesota USSSA Softball as my Assistant. Cathy has played women’s and mixed softball for over 34 years with numerous state and national titles. 

From 2008-10, Cathy has umpired the Men’s B-E and Women’s A-D World Tournaments in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This is Cathy’s fourth 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 (31) Reggie Jr. (27), Regina (26) and Lance (19), and eight grandchildren. Reggie has worked for the Minneapolis Park Board for the last 22 years. His hobbies include bowling, golfing, riding motorcycle and playing competitive softball for the last 16 years. 

Reggie has umpired numerous men’s and women’s B, C, D and E National and World qualifiers. The past three 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 third Dudley.

 

Kevin Peterson – Kevin has worked 26 years in the automotive field as a GM Technician. He has been an umpire for 20 years and has umpired in Nationals, NIT’s and State Tournaments. When not umpiring, Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife, Paige, and his twin boys Nick (8) and Nate (8). This is Kevin’s third Dudley.

 

Earl Thompson – Has been married for 25 years to his lovely wife, Debbie.  They have three children, two boys and a girl. He works at the Anoka County Courthouse.

Earl has been umpiring for 19 years. He has umpired NIT, World Qualifiers and Men’s Major Conference Tournaments. Earl has coached many different levels from high school, college, semi pros and arena football. This is Earl’s second 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 been umpiring for 12 years. In 2010, he umpired the Mens B, C, E and Women’s A and B World Tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Steve has five children, two boys and three girls, Jacboy (31), Mikaela (23), Imani (22), Shayania (14) and Steven (7). Steve enjoys fishing and camping and spending quality time with his children.  This is Steve’s second Dudley.

 

Mark Dallenbach – Mark has worked for HD – Supply – Creative Touch Interiors for the past three years as the Branch Manager for Minneapolis & Chicago Markets. He has been married for 10 years and has two children. He has umpired in Nationals, NIT’s and State Tournaments. He umpired his first world Tournaments in Florida last year.  This is Mark’s second Dudley Tournament. He loves spending time with his wife and children.

 

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, 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 “Official of the Year.”

Doc was inducted into the Michigan USSSA Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2010 he was inducted into the National USSSSA Hall of Fame. This will be Doc’s fifth 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 Liberty Park of America in Sterling Heights, Mich. Tony has umpired seven Men’s Major World Series (2004-10) and three Mixed World Series Tournaments (2006 and 2008-10). He has also umpired five Conference USSSA Championships (2006-10), numerous NIT’s, State and Regional Tournaments.

Tony has done several World Tournaments including five “A”, two “B”, three “C” and “D”.  He has been honored to receive the Michigan Umpire in Chief award in 2005. This is Tony’s fifth 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 (33) and Kelly (20). He enjoys bowling and playing golf with his wife, Mr. Rick and the lovely Ms. Anna. This is Drano’s fourth 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 of 22 years, Ann, reside in Champlin. Their two sons are attending college in sunny California.

 

Joe Ericksen, 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 his second season working for the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in guest services. Warren and his wife, Sandy, have two children, and four 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. Joe and his bride of less than a year live in Vernon Hills.

      

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 (20) 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 38 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 District 279. As the girls’ fastpitch coach at Park Center High School, he guided the Pirates to their second consecutive state title last week. Steve has been named the Class AA State Coach of the Year the past two years. He and his wife of 34 years, Miki, reside in Otsego.

 

Brooklyn Center’s Park 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.

 

• The following is a list of remaining national invitational 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 www.mnusssa.com.   

 

Date          Class                      Tournament

July 9-10   Men’s Open                        World NIT

                 Men’s “D”                World NIT

July 23-24 Mixed “D”                World NIT

July 23       Men’s “C/D”            World NIT

July 24       Men’s “C/D”                        World NIT

 

• We are going to have a “Wood Bat” tournament sponsored by Combat Sports on Sept. 10-11.  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: www.mnusssa.com

National USSSA Website Access: www.usssa.com

 

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!