Soon, baseball and softball players in and around northeast Indiana will have the opportunity to take part in the world’s largest baseball/softball scouting service. Last summer, Rich Dunno, the owner of the Strike Zone baseball/softball training facility and Les Edgerton traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to meet with the president and founder of Perfect Game USA, Jerry Ford.
Edgerton was finalizing interviews for his book on the history of the organization, Perfect Game USA and the Future of Baseball: How the Remaking of Youth Scouting Affects the National Pastime (McFarland Publishing, Spring 2009) while Dunno met with Ford to interview for a scouting position.
But Dunno left that session with more than a job. Rather, Ford offered Dunno the opportunity to develop five states — Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and western Pennsylvania — for the Perfect Game organization.
Since that meeting, Dunno and Edgerton and several other key players — Brian Kreager, Steed Williams, Brad Burlew, Dean Ehle and Colleen McNutt — have worked tirelessly to plan the initial showcases and tournaments in the five-state area. Six showcases and tournaments are currently being planned for 2010.
Dunno has since begun training with Perfect Game, working on several events as Field Director and Scout, including the recent week-long 17U tournament in East Cobb, GA; which featured 189 of the top travel teams in the nation and close to 300 pro and college scouts in attendance.
Perfect Game is the largest youth baseball and softball scouting service in the world. 1,191 players out of 1,504 taken in the most recent June amateur draft have attended Perfect Game Showcases.
Dunno will head the baseball operations, assisted by Kreager, Williams and Burlew. Edgerton, Ehle and McNutt will create the softball showcases and tournaments. Tentative talks have been held with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, with at least one forthcoming event to be held at Parkview Field in downtown Fort Wayne.
Meanwhile, Dunno continues to operate Strike Zone. He and the other members of his management team are hosting a Juco Baseball Showcase at the Glen Oaks Community College diamond on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009. It is open to high school ballplayers who are graduating in 2010 and 2011 as well as other players who have not yet secured a baseball scholarship. At least a dozen college coaches and scouts will be in attendance.
For directions, costs, participating institutions and other particulars, or to sign up for one of the few remaining spots, visit the Strike Zone website at strikezonespiders.com or phone Rich Dunno at 260-705-7424. For information on Perfect Game USA, visit their website at perfectgame.org.
Photo contributed by Rich Dunno