BY DAVID PEDERSEN
The top men’s softball teams and players in the nation were in action at a major tournament in Brooklyn Center last weekend. That includes Nick Peterson, the Rockford wrestling and track coach.
In his spare time, Peterson has developed into a standout slowpitch softball player. He helped lead Luther Auto/Tanel/360/NSK//Protandim to the highest finish by any Minnesota team at the 30th Dudley Budweiser Classic men’s major tournament last weekend.
Luther tied for seventh in the 34-team field that included the top six ranked teams in the nation and the only four teams ranked as Major.
The team that only plays in tournaments is ranked ninth among state class B teams. It is a collection of good players from the area.
After a first-round victory, Luther lost to Team Combat, one of the Major teams. Luther won three more games before losing to R&M Metal, a Class A team from Iowa.
Coach Scott Meyer calls Peterson his best hitter. The left fielder said after playing college football he found a love for softball and quickly moved up the ranks the past five years.
As a coach, Peterson had a special year when two of his wrestlers captured state championships in March.
Peterson’s softball squad also has been productive, placing seventh at the 30-plus team tournament in Kansas City earlier in the season.
The Dudley tournament was won once again by Resmondo-Specialty Tank/Worth, the defending USSSA World Series champion. Resmondo dominated at this year’s Dudley tourney, winning all six games by the run rule, outscoring teams 187-66.
The four Major teams reached the final four as expected. Resmondo beat Nordkap/Desert Storm/Easton 38-22 in the title game. The only other loss for the team with a Minnesota sponsor (Nordkap Construction of Ham Lake) was to Resmondo 26-6 in the semifinals.
Nordkap battled back to beat Class A R&M Metals 44-42, Team Combat/Pacific Headwear (Major) 50-46 and Laservision/Annihilation/Supreme/D2E/Easton (Major) 34-13 to get another crack at Resmondo.
In other key games, Resmondo beat Laservision 32-17 in the winner’s bracket finals and Laservision beat Team Combat 28-24 to claim third place.
Resmondo was paced by Tim Howard, a young newcomer who batted .913 for the tournament to be named most valuable player.
The co-MVP was JD Genter of Nordkap, which is not a total surprise. The second baseman eared Dudley MVP honors when playing for Long Haul Trucking one year and Dan Smith another, both Major teams.
Dan Smith did not sponsor a team this year, with most of the players going to Laservision. Also named All-Tournament from Resmondo was Jeff Hall, another former Dudley MVP who was talked out of retirement. He was joined by teammates Jimmy Salas, Robert Hughes, George Connell and pitcher Andy Purcell.
Nordkap players named All-Tournament included Brent McCollum as offensive MVP, pitcher Chad Munger, Mike Bowlin, Donovan Pokraka, Kevin Filby and Joey Formosa.
Top players from Laservision were Brian Wegman, Sam Lopez, Ryan Thiede and Kevin Kennington. Team Combat players on the All-Tournament squad were Johnny McCraw and Francois Henry, who plays for Team Canada.