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The Dudley is back in town … bombs away!
By Don Bowman
Let’s Play Softball Columnist
Get your tickets early for June 20-22 as the 2014 Dudley Classic is back in town! Softball enthusiasts throughout the Midwest have had this one on their calendar for months, as the nation’s top four major powerhouses will flex their muscles at Centennial Park and Evergreen Park in Brooklyn Center!
Defending major world champions Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth (FL), Backman/Shoppe/Louisville Slugger (IN), Laservision/H. Auto/JJ’s/Easton (NY) and Team Combat/Softball.com (WA) lead a powerful field in this year’s tourney!
Hopefully the rain gods stay out of town and tourney host Warren Bellm and his hard-working staff and participants can enjoy a BEAUTIFUL weekend for a change! Hats off to the sports complex/parks guru Joe Ericksen (Brooklyn Center) as well. He has done a GREAT job for softball players through the years and should be commended!
Airline prices keeping teams away
Sadly our local conglomerate of airlines stationed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are gouging folks so bad on air prices again this year that many pretty good A and B class clubs from around the country are staying away from this event again this year.
One manager of a nationally-ranked team told me for the cost of flying into the Twin Cities for one tourney, they can fly to two other events for the same price.” What a joke!
Hall of Fame Game set for Thursday
A big thanks to Minnesota Hall of Famer Pat O’Connell for arranging the 1st annual Hall of Fame Softball game on Thursday, June 19 at 6 p.m., now at Evergreen Park! Nearly 50 hall of famers are expected to participate, including pitcher Dick Anderson – 82 years old and still going strong! Anderson has been working on his knuckleball this week after he learned he will face the Hall of Fame’s youngest inductee, Scott “Brownie” Brown, in the opening at bat!
Hopefully there will be a lot of Bengay, Metamucil and Advil on hand for that contest!
Resmondo enters as favorites
Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth will be the team to beat at the Dudley Classic after they claimed recent major tournament championships in Chicago two weeks ago and Maryland last week!
The Sodmen topped Laservision in the Maryland finals last week 42-32 and then knocked off another national powerhouse, Backman/Shoppe/Louisville Slugger, in the finals of the Chicago tourney, 49-26. Laservision has given Resmondo some trouble in the past, so I look for the two to meet in Sunday afternoons finals!
Dudley Classic to air on ESPN3
ESPN3 is slated to televise SIX games in the Dudley Classic starting Saturday afternoon, June 21!
Denny Crine wins Bomber event
Denny Crine/Team Miken (Henderson, NV) won the June 6 ASA/Long Haul Bombers tour event in Arlington, Texas, topping Johnny McGraw (Combat) and Chris Greinhet (Combat). Crine got eight, while his opponents topped out at seven and three, respectively.
Next up on the Long Haul Bomber tour is a stop a Comerica Park in Detroit (June 18), and then a stop at the friendly confines of Target Field in Minneapolis on August 5!
MSHSL fastpitch champions crowned
The Minnesota State High School League girls’ fastpitch tourney was held in Mankato two weeks ago. In AAA big school action, Lakeville South stunned Maple Grove 3-2. In AA play, Kasson/Mantorville topped LeSueur/Henderson 3-0, and in Class A play, New Ulm Cathedral topped New Life Academy, 3-1. Some great softball action was played at Caswell Park. All teams should be commended!
Gone too soon
The slow pitch softball community would like to offer its sincere condolences to Steve Pease and his family after the passing of his father this past weekend.
Sanford suffers broken thumb
Senior softball director Scott Sanford is nursing a broken thumb after taking vicious shot up the middle in an over-50 game last week in White Bear Lake. His quick physical reflexes allowed him to snag the line shot for an out, but his slow mental reflexes made him forget there was pitching screen there to protect him two inches away! Go Navy!
MN Senior Games set for August 9
Speaking of senior softball, here is a tourney you won’t want to miss.The Minnesota Senior Games Softball Tournament is slated for Saturday, August 9 in Eagan! For info, e-mail Kevin Maloney at firstname.lastname@example.org. The tournament will feature tournaments in 50s/55s/60s/65s/70s/75s and 80s play, and is open to the public! The top three finishers in each class earn a berth to the 2015 National Senior Games, also to be held in Eagan.