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Fireman’s Tournament blasts off in Bloomington
By Don Bowman
Mark your calendar for July 19-22 for the Bloomington Fire Department’s 2012 Slow Pitch Softball Tournament! The Fireman’s is always a great tournament for people watching and watching some great softball as well! You never know when local icon Kent Hrbek (#14) might stop by to munch on some corn and swig a beer (or three)!
Jeff Barnes, long-time tourney director (#164), will also be on hand to meet and greet you, and put on a great softball extravaganza second to none! See you at the tent!
O&S Cattle wins McQuades title
O&S Cattle (South St. Paul) beat Annihilation/Easton (New York) to win the McQuades 37th annual tournament in North Dakota last weekend. Technically, the pair ended up co-champs, but O&S beat Annihilation two out of three during the event to get the nod.
O & S was led by Resmondo stars Andy Purcell and Don Dedonatis Jr., and also included locals Geno Burdick Jr. and Ryan O’Conell. Annihilation’s lineup included slugger Brett Helmer and Red Wing sensation Geno Buck. I’m sure a few dusty pickup trucks in ballpark parking in Bismarck got some broken windshields during this one!
Geno Buck named to U.S. team
Speaking of Geno Buck, he has been named to the 2012 USA Major Men’s Softball team roster for the big border battle game versus Canada on June 30! This game can be seen on ESPN and is sure to be another bloodbath. After the USA took their lumps against the puck salesmen back in 2010, they came back with a vengeance to clobber the Canucks big time in 2011. It wasnt pretty! If you recall the debacle in 2010, the USA’s No. 1 team Resmondo, would not let their players participate in the event because, well frankly, because it’s ASA. Things have changed, and the band is back together, and look for a BIG score coming out of Oklahoma City this weekend!
The Rocket Man
Robbie “Rocket” Hortenbach, local automobile mogul and softball entrepreneur, has been spotted at several local softball tournaments this year peddling softball gear and other specialties to area softball fans. No longer running his Rocket powerhouse men’s team any more, he is now a major sponsor of national powerhouse Laservision/Easton Softball out of New York!
Local softball tournaments shine
Some local softball tournaments that are now on the map and running some GREAT events this past weekend include: the long- running Kaposia Days tournament in South St. Paul and the Summerfest/Hughie Russell Classic in Oakdale. Both events had their parks looking in GREAT shape, including watering of the infields, beautiful groomed fields and festival style events going on. Some outstanding softball was played as well!
Walton Park in Oakdale also had some amateur boxing events, along with circus rides for the kiddies, while the festive atmosphere and large tournament field (nearly 100 teams!) at McMorrow and Vets fields in South St. Paul were hard to beat!
Crowds smaller at the Dudley
The Dudley Classic, while still a “Classic” indeed, saw record crowds dwindle dramatically this year. Not sure the reason why. The weather was pretty darn good and the beer was cold. Perhaps the overall quality of play was down, with guys playing in cargo shorts and all ... who knows. One team that was impressive from the local standpoint, however, was Luther Auto out of Stillwater who went a sizzling 4-2! Congrats to Scott Meyers and his squad!
From MLB to slow pitch softball
Former Golden Gopher and Red Sox baseball closer Mike “Clarky” Clarkin in playing slow pitch softball these days in St. Paul. Present Minnesota Twins closer Matt Capps, SHOULD be playing slow pitch softball in St. Paul as well these days. Maybe the two can flip-flop roles for the remainder of the season?
Team USA wins Title IX Game
The USA women’s national fastpitch team won the Title IX 40th Anniversary Celebration exhibition border battle game versus Canada 9-1 this past weekend. The game, played in Oklahoma City, saw the USA collect 10 hits, led by Lauren Gibson (MD) who went 2-3. Jordan Taylor (CA) collected the win while going three innings and notching six strikeouts in the big victory.
A hole in one for Ray Brown
Ray Brown, father of Combat slugger Scotty Brown and a very good hitter in his own right, nailed a hole in on the golf course earlier this month. No word on whether it was miniature golf course or regulation size facility – you be the judge.
From the diamond to the garage
St. Agnes High School fastpitch coach Gary Moos is operating Frazers Auto Repair Shop in White Bear Lake these days.
Grandfathered bats for 2013?
There is rumor circulating that the Minnesota USSSA might “grandfather” past year’s USSSA certified bats for 2013, and might allow them to be used in league play only next season. That would be a GREAT idea!